Updated October 2019
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Independent Spanish learners have recently been gifted a new resource: Kwiziq.com. While Kwiziq was originally just for French learners, they have expanded (and are still expanding) to help Spanish learners, too. Kwiziq is a gamified membership system meant to help Spanish language learners understand and conquer grammar concepts, which is great because grammar is probably the most difficult thing for us to learn.
So, what do we need to know about Kwiziq? Let’s take a deep dive into this website. Is it the right resource for you?
Kwiziq’s claim to fame is its artificial intelligence. It uses its AI to determine your proficiency with different grammatical concepts, as well as when to test you on them. The way it tests you feels almost like Anki to me, which is a good thing. It’s not that it reminds you of these things right before it thinks you’ll forget them, but it really throws one or two concepts at you until you make your way through them and prove that you’re ready to move on to something more advanced.
Besides the technical stuff, Kwiziq’s grammar is separated into CEFR levels, so both you and Kwiziq know what your actual skill level is: A1-C1, A1 being beginner, C1 being advanced. This is a great way to conceptualize your Spanish level based on your knowledge of grammar. Many of us have a hard time being confident with our level, so this is a great help. With Kwiziq’s gamification, which we’ll go into detail about later, these levels build up onto each other, just as they do with any skill.
To master these levels, you take quizzes! The AI determines which concepts you should review, and then offers you quizzes, or “kwizzes”, based on this material. Your mastery of every concept starts at 0% and goes up or down depending on the questions you get right or wrong. As you get closer to 100%, the AI will suggest you move on to an upper level.
Finally, these levels are presented to you in a progress map (as long as you’re a paid member). A green subject is one that’s been mastered, yellow is in progress, and red occurs when you have performed below 0%. Because the AI wants you to stay above 0%, it advises you not to answer questions if you’re not sure about their answer.
So, now that you have the basic idea of Kwiziq, is it for you?
Pro: Kwiziq provides decent explanations of grammatical concepts
Kwiziq has experienced Spanish teachers who create all of its content, and you can see who has provided this information quite easily. Like I said, grammar is hard, and these concepts can sometimes take several different tries to finally get into our brains (how many of you beginner/intermediate learners are still struggling the preterite and imperfect tenses?).
When I found Kwiziq, I was right in the middle of an “I kind of understand the difference, but I generally fumble and fall a lot when I try to use them” phase with the preterite and imperfect tenses. Now, Kwiziq’s explanation didn’t really help me a lot. What did help me was their chart for the actual conjugations. Looking at what the ending should be over and over again did help me.
At the end of the day, one person can only do so much. The descriptions of when and how to use these grammar concepts are pretty well-executed, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they help certain ideas to really click for you.
Pro: Kwiziq rewards you for learning
One of the best parts about Kwiziq is that it rewards you for your efforts. It’s completely gamified, which means you get rewarded every time you answer 50%, 75%, 90%, and 100% of the questions pertaining to a certain grammatical concept correctly. You get little stars after each of these accomplishments, so sometimes you’ll finish a quiz with a couple dozen stars celebrating your success! These stars are also paired with “kudos”, which you get every time you accomplish literally anything.
Past the individual lessons, you’re rewarded for your success in certain levels, as well! Accomplishing certain percentages of success in your level means you’ll get trophies: a bronze shield for achieving 50%, a silver shield for 75%, a gold shield for 90%, and a diamond for 100%.
These also build up on top of each other: the more high-level trophies you win, the more foundational awards you get. For example, the A1 diamond trophy is yours once you achieve a diamond in A0 and gold in A1.
Finally, Kwiziq also rewards you for landmarks. You get your first one after your first kwiz and are continuously rewarded for the number of kwizzes you take in a day. The more kwizzes you take, the more landmarks you achieve, the more kudos you receive.
Con: Kwiziq punishes you for your wrong answers
The way that Kwiziq’s AI works is that it takes all your answers at face value. Correct questions help you, incorrect questions hurt you, and questions that you don’t answer remain neutral. Therefore, Kwiziq tells you not to guess answers if you don’t know them in every kwiz.
While there’s nothing wrong with telling you that you’re wrong, the thing I don’t like about that is that the whole reward system is based on percentages: once you get a certain percentage right, you get a happy little green color, more stars, more trophies, etc. However, this means that the more times you answer a question incorrectly, the more you have to get it correctly to get all these rewards. Which makes it almost impossible to reach milestones for concepts that may be more difficult for you.
This conflicts with one of my own philosophies for motivation: trying and failing is better than not trying at all. If you don’t try, how do you know if you’ll succeed? Kwiziq punishes me for this. It introduces more anxiety into my brain that is necessary because it means I’m constantly second-guessing whether I actually know the thing that I think that I know. It means that I’m never confident in myself because the risk is so extreme.
The whole premise of Kwiziq feeds off a reward system, but if you’re having a hard time understanding something, forget about getting rewarded for practicing that concept, because you’re just never going to get that star. Which means I’ve honestly given up on certain parts of Kwiziq. I didn’t like how much negative reinforcement I was getting – I was being punished for trying!
Pros: You can learn on Kwiziq in short, 10-question, multiple-choice quizzes
The thing about Kwiziq is that it’s addictive. You get rewarded for almost every kwiz you take, and kwizzes are only a minute or so long. You don’t have to commit any time whatsoever to this fun little game. It’s easy to, once you go down the rabbit hole of figuring out your grammar, but you can just take 30 seconds to practice.
Plus, the fact that they’re multiple-choice (at first) makes them significantly easier to swallow. When you’re learning these things at first, you only have to choose from a few different options. Once Kwiziq’s AI thinks that you’ll be able to do it, it’ll throw you a few fill-in-the-blanks. These are the ones you have to be careful with, though, because it doesn’t take too kindly to typos. One mistyped letter, and you throw away the whole question, even if you were right.
Con: The mobile site is less-than convenient
We all love to do everything mobile. Especially with Kwiziq’s quick little quizzes, it should be fun to whip your phone out every once in a while, and kwiz your way through some Spanish practice! At least, that’s what I would love to do during a boring movie or something. Unfortunately, mobile Kwiziq is just desktop Kwiziq, but with a smaller screen, which makes doing anything pretty inconvenient. It’s too easy to accidentally hit the wrong multiple-choice answer, you have to keep scrolling to see the full sentence, etc.
What I would suggest is an app. This concept is easy enough to bring to iPhone or Android! In fact, much like Duolingo it would seem to be more mobile-friendly than anything else!
Pro: Instant gratification
A great part about Kwiziq is the fact that you can instantly get an explanation as to why they marked your answer incorrectly. At the result of every quiz, they give you links to the lesson page, so you can figure out what you did wrong (or, in some cases, which grammatical concept they were even testing!). This is an easy way to fill those little gaps in your grammar brain instantly, as opposed to creating a list of things that you should look up, and then you kind of forget what you did, and then you have to find the question again and figure out how to answer it and it just goes on and on.
Even if I do think that Kwiziq punishes you too harshly for failing (as I believe failing should just mean that you put the effort forward, not “bad girl, you were wrong”), I do appreciate the ability to get a question wrong and then instantly be directed to the lesson page for a quick reminder.
Con: if you take a break, don’t get anything wrong
Even though Kwiziq’s robot tells you not to answer questions if you’re not completely sure, there is a scenario in which this is different. I ran into this situation when some new topics had been recently added to the A1 level, which brought my 90+% down to somewhere in the 80s. All I wanted to do was get some questions right on this new subject so that my percentage would go back up to the 90s. It was all basic Spanish concepts, so I knew that I already understood them.
When I went to take a new quiz, I avoided all the other questions; I didn’t want to commit the brain space to the other subjects, just the one where I wanted to up my percentage. According to Kwiziq, I wouldn’t be punished for not trying to answer. Unfortunately, I was wrong.
I was in a beginner quiz, and I got all those questions wrong! Which, of course, brought my entire percentage farther down. Didn’t even matter that I got that one question right, the one that had been at 0%. All my little green areas quickly turned yellow, because Kwiziq had just assumed that I had forgotten all those beginner concepts.
Moral of the story: either stick with your kwizzing, make sure you answer all your old questions, or don’t get too excited about that percentage. If the AI assumes that you forgot something, it will bring your score down to encourage you to relearn those lessons. I get what they’re trying to do, but they should’ve given me a big red flag saying “hey, our rule about not trying to answer questions that you don’t know doesn’t apply anymore, I will judge you on everything!”.
Pro: Kwiziq’s free trial
Kwiziq’s free trial is great for a bunch of reasons. First, it’s free. I love free. Second, the trial is 10 free quizzes a month. What does this mean? This means that this free content never expires! You can take free kwizzes as long as you want, they’re just limited. At the start of the new month, these 10 kwizzes are recharged.
This also means that you get your free kwizzes even if you were a member in the past but have since canceled, which is a thing that a lot of companies punish you for. If you cancel, you’ll still get an email once a month reminding you of free kwizzes that you have left, and when they’ll expire. Even if I’m not paying anymore, I still really like to be informed of free content that’s waiting for me.
Con: You can get a lot more for free elsewhere
Kwiziq isn’t the only guy out there with free quizzes to test your grammar fluency, but they’re the only one I know about that limits their quizzes. They are in competition with a couple other resources that offer very similar products, with very similar information, all for free.
For example, Spanishdict.com is a great website with a free online Spanish-English dictionary, forum and, you guessed it, quizzes! These quizzes aren’t led by an artificial intelligence, but they do a great job of providing you practice for some of these more difficult concepts. For example, I got a much better handle on my past tense with a Spanishdict quiz. It’s a different format meant for different reasons, but it’s still free quizzes!
Another popular free resource for grammar quizzes is StudySpanish. This website also has significant amounts of information available to help you understand your grammar, with some more hidden behind a paywall.
Pro: Paid Kwiziq means unlimited, personalized kwizzes
We LOVE unlimited. Unlimited is great. So, even if it is a pricey choice, you can still make the most out of your money (much like how Baselang works). This is what I did; when I didn’t want to commit financially, but I figured I could get a whole lot of value out of the thing, I kwizzed ‘til I bled! Let’s be honest, that’s the only way to get this “500 kwizzes taken” kudo. I’m not going to lie, I’m pretty proud.
And these aren’t just generic kwizzes, either. Thanks to the AI and the test that tells you exactly where you are according to the CEFR standard, the 10-question kwizzes automatically test you on the concepts that you need to be tested on. They’re not just 10 questions about 1 concept, they’re 10 questions on 2-3 concepts that the AI thinks you should be practicing.
Of course, there is significantly more content now than when they first expanded to Spanish. I don’t think it’s reasonable to try to stuff everything there is into one month, especially considering there’s new content coming out every week now! But hey, that’s just more value.
While we’re on that subject…
Con: Kwiziq might be out of your budget
Kwiziq is another monthly membership platform. And, like most membership platforms, you can be on the hook for a better price if you can commit. I mean, it’s no Baselang, don’t get me wrong, but I’m not about to brush the numbers under the rug.
Kwiziq does come jam-packed with a LOT of value; like, so much that I’m not even done talking about all the opportunities members have to improve their Spanish language skills.
These prices place Kwiziq in the realm of language learners who are willing to stretch their purse strings just a tad, but only with some serious thought. I mean, I don’t like to suggest specific language learning strategies (everybody learns differently and has different goals), but pairing Kwiziq with some Verbling or iTalki is not a bad plan!
Pro: Kwiziq is more than just grammar
Primarily, Kwiziq is perfect for improving your Spanish grammar. It doesn’t stop there, though! Here’s where that value I was talking about really comes in. Kwiziq is just as multi-faceted as the language it’s teaching you.
My favorite language learning resources are the ones that stretch all of the language skills: reading, writing, listening, and speaking. Even though Kwiziq is mostly grammar (which isn’t even a language skill), you can also find practice for all your skills!
Just like Kwiziq’s grammar content, the exercises are also organized by A1-C2, so you get a really solid, in-depth understanding of your skill levels across the board, considering all 4 are rarely in the same place at any given time. And, honestly, I highly recommend Kwiziq for all language learners, if even just for these exercises.
For example, take this B1 writing exercise. Kwiziq takes you through a lesson one line at a time, corrects you, gives you the option to grade yourself, and then links you to the individual lessons used in the statement so you can figure out what you did wrong. If you’re not up to doing that research just yet, the icons to the right of the lesson links let you save them for later.
Still not quite getting it? All users are able to comment on the lessons and ask their questions, and Kwiziq’s Spanish teachers are actually incredibly responsive; if you’ve found something ambiguous and your question helps them see that something is confusing, they also have the power to make changes.
Plus, you can’t forget about the Weekend Workout! Every weekend, members get brand new writing and listening challenges appropriate for every level sent directly to their email. It’s honestly a really nice reminder to keep up your practice, even if it’s only a little bit.
At the end of the day, I believe that Kwiziq is a really great resource for online independent Spanish learners. It has every grammar concept under the sun, and more are being added regularly.
Its gamification and easy-to-swallow kwizzes are addictive, which means that you’ll learn more grammar than you ever would anyways (let’s be real, most of us hate learning grammar). The reading, writing, listening, and speaking exercises that are updated regularly are also a major win, I think.
If nothing else, I would highly recommend all Spanish language learners, no matter the level, at least go through a few free kwizzes and have the AI assess your level.