Tense Test

The latest addition to my Quick Quizzes is the Tense Test. Rather than testing knowledge using multiple choice, form-manipulation, or fill-in quiz on tenses, stick to a simple either/or comprehension check, then get back to providing input and encouraging interaction…

Instead of True/False, students write X/Present for whichever tense you use (e.g. past/present, future/present, imperfect-ish tense/present, really obscure tense/present, etc.). N.B. In beginning years, the purpose of this Quick Quiz is to get a score for the gradebook while exposing students to different tenses, not to test whether they know the different forms! 

Option 1: use a picture
Option 2: no-prep, use nothing

Option 1
Use this option if you have a very, very clear picture (e.g. student drawn, Picture Talk, paused MovieTalk clip, whatever). Say anything for the X tense, but describe exactly what’s going on for the present. Tense Tests can be as obvious as you’d like appropriate to the level you’re teaching. Here are some examples:


N.B. Expected student responses, on the tiny papers and that will be reviewed immediately following the quiz are in bold:

Present: There is a cat.
Present: Now, the cat is standing.
Present: The cat sees us.
Past/Present: The cat was in Rome.
Past/Present: Yesterday, the cat was standing.
Future/Present: Soon, the cat will see us.

Option 2
On the spot, say anything. Then, offer students the choice of “X/Present.” N.B. If what you just said was in the present tense, add any other tense as that other option. If what you said was a different tense, be sure to include that in the options! 

With the addition of the Tense Test, the total no-prep quizzes comes to 6, which you can read more about on the Input-Based Strategies & Activities post:

Quick Quiz
Vocab Quick Quiz
K-F-D Quiz
Picture Quick Quiz
Classroom Quick Quiz
Tense Test

6 thoughts on “Tense Test

  1. Pingback: Picture & Classroom Quick Quizzes | Magister P.

  2. So this is like when we circle and say – “Is his name Bob or Joe?” and kids tell us the correct character name from our story, you are suggesting we say a sentence (either on the fly or as part of a quick quiz), then say “Was that sentence present tense or future tense?” and see what they say (or write down if it is a quiz)?

    • Sort of, although circling is providing exposure to known information.

      The Tense Test is especially used as a quick quiz because there’s no reason to be asking about tenses while communicating. The magic happens (i.e. CI) when you go over the quiz afterwards in Latin.

  3. i am a little confused 😦 Sorry!!!! Are you asking the kids to tell what the tense is or asking them to fill in with a given tense??? As in WAS Bob in Rome or IS Bob in Rome? More along the lines of TPRS circling only the kids are choosing the given verb. So, in Spanish, Bob está en Roma o Bob estaba en Roma? And the answer would be based on previously given information that establishes the tense fact that is being circled.

    • No. See my comment above on circling; avoid thinking of circling as having to do with quizzing. This is for teachers who otherwise test knowledge about tenses, usually multiple choice, etc. Here’s an example in Spanish:

      – “Bob está en Roma.”
      – “Classe, presente o pasado?”

      (i.e. “Bob is in Rome. Class, present or past?”)

      You could say the same thing, “Bob está en Roma,” and choose any shadow tense other than present (e.g. “Classe, presente o futuro(?)?”)

  4. Pingback: Pronunciation & Poetry Quizzes | Magister P.

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