Teaching & Learning Portal


PeerWise: a repository for student-designed MCQs

7 August 2013

Stefanie Anyadi, Sam Green and Kevin Tang discuss how PeerWise fared when it was piloted on a Linguistics module.


What is PeerWise?

PeerWise is a free learning tool which allows students to design their own multiple-choice questions (MCQs), add them to the repository and then learn using questions uploaded by their peers. 

How it worked in the pilot

The use of PeerWise was piloted on one Linguistics module in 2011/12 and extended to further modules in 2012/13. We divided students into small groups and asked them to work together while submitting questions and answers individually. This worked well with our pilot cohort but students can also work individually. We found that using PeerWise had many benefits:

  • Performance in PeerWise correlated with exam marks
  • Active and constant student engagement
  • Use as a revision tool
  • High-quality and creative questions with detailed explanations
  • Use of media: sounds and images
  • Supports peer interactions


PeerWise assigns a score to all participants, and this score can be used to contribute to overall module assessment. Using work on PeerWise for a small contribution to the overall module assessment can increase student motivation and commitment. The total PeerWise score is composed of individual scores for question writing, answering questions and rating existing questions. To increase the total score, one needs to achieve good scores for each component by

  • Writing relevant, high-quality questions with well-thought-out alternatives and clear explanations
  • Answering questions thoughtfully
  • Rating questions fairly and leaving constructive feedback
  • Using PeerWise early, as the score increases over time based on the contribution history

Information and support

PeerWise is free of charge and used by universities across the world. PeerWise is an external service and is not supported by UCL, although in our experience the support provided by the creators is excellent. Please check that it is suitable for your purpose before using it. There are some guidelines, soon to be updated, for using Web2.0 services on the ISD website (UCL staff only; password-protected).

Setting up a course via the PeerWise website is straightforward. Once set up, the system requires monitoring but not extensive intervention.

See below for presentations and guides for use.

Further information