Chariot Software Group's MicroTest III
MicroTest III is a test bank program. It creates databases of questions and files of tests that draw particular questions from a database and assembles those questions into an exam. The main interface shows three windows. The top left window lists the chapters available in the database. The top right window shows a numbered list of all the questions in the selected chapter. The bottom window shows the details on the currently selected chapter. You can select questions manually or use a section criterion, such as "all hard questions."
Some textbook publishers distribute MicroTest question databases with their textbooks, which is how I first started using the program. If your textbook d'es not come with a database, you have two options: enter questions one at a time within MicroTest, or type the questions in your word processor and import them into the program.
MicroTest d'es not have a spell check and its interface for manually entering questions is clunky, so you will most likely want to avoid that option. It uses a very rigid format for importing questions that requires you to insert arcane codes, such as "/MC SC all K A D A" into your questions. In addition, the file must be saved as a text file without formatting before it can be imported. However, using your word processor d'es let you check spelling and enter a lot of questions quickly, so it is well worth learning how to insert the codes. Unfortunately, MicroTest cannot import formatting, so you will have to format your questions manually once you have imported them.
MicroTest excels in assembling questions into finished exams. You can have the program scramble the order of questions, scramble the order of answers in multiple choice questions, and print multiple versions of the same exam. If you want to keep questions in groups, you can have MicroTest break the exam into sections where questions are only scrambled within groups. I routinely break my exams into multiple choice and essay sections for this purpose.
While I like the program and use it as my only test bank program, it is not the most modern software package, and has a lot of rough edges. For instance, you must set Windows to use small fonts for display or it will not print properly. MicroTest d'es not use the standard Windows dialog box for opening test banks and exams. It also d'es not use all the Windows shortcuts for things like cutting and pasting text. Every time you go to open a test bank or exam, it defaults to the MicroTest subdirectory, rather than to the subdirectory you last used to open a file. Further, there is no history of recently used files. In short, MicroTest is harder to use than it should be, but it is much easier to manage question databases and exams with the program than it is to do so manually.
Associate Professor of Management
Southern Polytechnic State University
Chariot Software Group
San Diego, CA
This article originally appeared in the 08/01/2001 issue of THE Journal.