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Prevent cheating in a timed online quiz

My company regularly run competitions on the internet. These consist of simple multiple choice quizzes, where the fastest person to complete the quiz wins a prize.

Recently we’ve been having big problem with cheaters (a lot of sub one second entries that would be impossible to complete manually). The time is calculated server side, so the cheater can’t be manipulating the times directly. The only feasible way to cheat would be to write a script to automatically fill in and submit the quiz.

We’ve already implemented the following to try and combat this:

  • Limit the user to one entry (by checking IP and asking for email address)
  • randomly take questions from a pool (unfortunately each quiz has to be translated, so the actual pool size is quite small due to our limited translation resources)
  • randomize question and answer order
  • randomize quiz element class names and ids

Even with all of the techniques above, we’re still getting people who manage to cheat.

As a last resort, we’re considering replacing the quiz text with images, and randomizing the image names, but this would be a nightmare for accessibility and could still feasibly be cheated by using image comparison. Hence, we really want to avoid this if at all possible.

So I was wondering if anybody here had any ideas of how to combat this?


Prevent cheating in a timed online quiz

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