How Does The Timer Work in WatuPRO?

WatuPRO, the premium version of our WordPress quiz plugin has a timer feature. It’s enabled by a setting in the  Add / Edit Quiz page:

Set time limit of minutes (Leave it blank or enter 0 to not set any time limit.)

When you set anything different than zero, everyone who starts the quiz will see “Start Quiz” button. When started the timer starts running.  Here are several frequently asked questions about the timer and their answers:

Q: What happens when the timer runs out?

A: The user results are automatically submitted. So the questions they already answered will be recorded properly, the other will be marked as unanswered.

Q: What happens if the user refreshes the page from their browser?

A: The timer continues from where they were. No time is lost or added except the few seconds taken for refreshing the page.

Q: What happens if the user closes the browser, their internet connection get lost, power goes down etc?

A: The timer keeps running behind the scene so the time when the user was not online is lost. This is done to prevent cheating of users who can take screenshot of the questions and answer “at home”.

When the user comes back, the timer continues. If all the time ran out, their results are submitted automatically. Such a situation requires that the user have stored their progress via the optional Save button or their progress is automatically stored using the appropriate option (for paginated quizzes). If no progress is stored for a given user and they come back after timer ran out, they will never be able to submit the quiz!

Q: I see some users took hours to complete a quiz that has just 30 minutes time limit! Are they cheating the timer?

No, they are not cheating the timer. As explained above when the user closes the browser and come back later after the time has passed their results are automatically submitted (but only the answers they gave before returning). In such event there was more time from start to end of the test than allowed, but the user did not use that time. The quiz is just showing you this to let you know which users abandoned the tests and then came back later (and how much later) to have it immediately auto-submitted. This information can be useful to help you design the quiz better.

Q: How does it work for non logged in users?

A: The same way as of non logged in users except that closing the browser will clear the session and restart the timer. Refreshing the page does not restart the timer – it keeps running from where it was refreshed.

Q: Can users with disabled JavaScript on their browsers cheat the timer?

A: No, they can’t. The start time of their quiz attempt is recorded in the database so even without any javascript they can’t cheat the timer. Results of users who try to cheat the timer this way and exhaust their time will not be accepted. They will remain as “unfinished quiz attempts”.

Q: Is there a place where I can see unfinished quiz attempts?

A: Yes. If there are any quiz attempts that are currently in progress, you will see the following link in your “View results” page (this is the page you get when you click on the “Taken X times” link under “View Results” column on your Quizzes page) :

There are 1 unfinished attempt(s).

You can click on that link to see these attempts and clean them if you wish (be careful, some of these might be of an user currently taking a quiz).

Q: Do search engines index the contents of quizzes with timer?

A: The questions of timed quizzes are hidden before the timer is started. This is to avoid tech-savvy users viewing the questions by using “view source”. For this reason search engines can’t index these questions.

Q: Can I set different timers per each question?

No, the timer is available only per quiz basis. Creating per-question timer is extremely complicated and unlikely to ever happen so please don’t contact us asking about it.

Q: I had a quiz taker complain that their results were submitted blank. How come?

There is a protection against smart savvy users who switch off JavaScript on their browsers to earn more time than allowed. Pity for them, they can’t cheat the timer: time is tracked both on the front-end and the back-end. Users who cheat will have their answers completely wiped.

If you are convinced than honest users may somehow have their answers lost, we recommend setting some pagination (for example one question per page or 10 questions per page etc), and selecting the following option:

Answers that are stored in the system will not be wiped out. This will ensure that even if some odd computer problem occurs (we could never reproduce such case!) a genuine quiz taker will not lose the answers given before the timer ran out. This will work for logged in users.