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DUMP: Database of Useful MCQ's for Physics

Question Browser Viewing a Question
Browsing and searching for Questions (click to expand)


This project has developed an online repository of multiple choice questions (MCQs and MRQs) intended to be used for student self-study and formative assessment provision in introductory undergraduate Physics courses. It is freely and easily available to the UK HE community and further developments of this service are currently being planned.

Bundle Editor
Bundling up Questions for export

The importance of formative assessment in undergraduate learning is well-established and practitioners in HE would support the strategic goal of ultimately wanting our undergraduate students to develop into more autonomous learners. To this end, in Edinburgh we have previously developed over a number of years an extensive bank of MCQs that can be used by our own students to test their understanding of material and to provide instant formative feedback. The questions are delivered electronically via the Web and students can access them from wherever and whenever they choose. (These materials form part of the Physics 1A course at Edinburgh). Such materials are certainly not unique around Physics departments in the UK, textbook publishers etc.

View of interactive web bundle PDF Output
Two of the possibilites for exporting material from DUMP. The left screenshot is an interactive web bundle; the right is a "traditional" PDF version that can be used offline.

However there are certain features of such materials available ‘out there’ that can impede or even preclude their widespread use: one is granularity of the material (‘I want that one, but not that one...’) and another is the (lack of) interoperability of data formats (‘I use package/VLE X but your data is in Y format’) and poor support for Mathematical content in existing implementations and specifications. This system seeks to address these shortcomings and provides the entire bank of several hundred questions for use in the Physics HE community, and can export material in a number of useful formats. The granularity of the resources also enables educators to select and organise the resources as they see fit.

The project workplan was divided into an (academic) quality control exercise, to ensure suitable coverage of introductory topics and provision of appropriate feedback (particularly for incorrect answers) and a technical development phase, which builds on components from our Aardvark Framework.

Project Status

This project ran from October 2005 to October 2006 and was funded by the University of Edinburgh's e-Learning Project Fund and a grant from the Higher Education Academy Physical Sciences Centre Development Project 2005.

Project Contacts

Prof Simon Bates, School of Physics and Astronomy (Project Manager and Academic Lead)
Dr David McKain, School of Physics and Astronomy (Technical Lead)


  • Simon P. Bates (Physics, Edinburgh), Bruce D. Sinclair (Physics, St. Andrews), Project Synopsis, Higher Education Academy website.
  • Simon P. Bates (Physics, Edinburgh), Bruce D. Sinclair (Physics, St. Andrews), Development Project Report, Wavelength: Newsletter of HEA Physical Sciences Center, Vol2, Issue 2 (p9).