Single hotspot question

Single hotspot question in digital assessment – what is it exactly?

Choosing the right question type in a (digital) assessment can be challenging. For example, when do you choose a single hotspot question? When do you choose this question, and what are its unique features?

What is a single hotspot question?

A single hot spot question is a closed question type in which the candidate must select one specific area on a picture. The graphical element within this question type is of great importance. As a test constructor, you can use particular images, such as a map or a diagram. This allows you to test more precise knowledge, for example, in the field of geography or when it comes to understanding visuals and illustrations.

What is the difference between a multiple hotspot question?

The difference between a single and multiple hotspot question is simple. In the numerous hotspot question, the candidate can click multiple answers (hotspots) within the given image, where there is only one answer option in the single variant.

Tip: not all digital testing software supports this question type. Decide in advance which question types best suit your tests. Read also: How to choose the right testing software?


A single hotspot question has several advantages.

  • Measure specific knowledge: Using this question type, you can very accurately measure particular expertise in the candidate that other question types cannot easily ascertain.
  • Fun for the candidate: Some candidates find the exam moment very exciting, especially in summative assessment. By varying different question types, taking a test becomes fun and interactive! Tip: Also, read more about using multimedia in tests! (LINK).
  • No confusion with answer options: The answer options may be confusing when using a question type with multiple answer options. This affects the validity of your test. This is not the case with the single hotspot question, as the candidate is not distracted when answering.


  • Constructing questions takes time and knowledge: For the test constructor, creating this question takes some time and the expertise of an assessment system. This is because it is essential to indicate the right place on the map and to store it correctly in the assessment system. By the way, did you know that Optimum Assessment Platform is very user-friendly?
  • Chance of cheating: The single hotspot question is an eye-catching question type. Are candidates sitting in the same room and are you using version exams that are not administered ‘at random‘? Then this type of question may tempt you to cheat. Of course, this does not apply if you use online proctoring.
  • Good visual content is necessary: a single hotspot question falls on good and clear images. This can negatively affect candidates’ test performance if this is not in order.


  • Clarity: Make sure the assignment is clear to the candidate. Use clear and understandable language.
  • Specific objective: Decide in advance what topic you want to test with the question. It is not an objective in itself to use this test question. However, it must have added value.
  • Placement of the hotspot: Decide carefully where the hotspot should be placed within the image.

Conclusion – Single hotspot question in (digital) assessment

In some (digital) assessment cases, using a single hotspot question offers absolute added value. This is because candidates have only one answer option within this question type. This allows you to find out specific knowledge in a very targeted way. However, it is crucial to consider which question types you use. Want to know more about this? Optimum Assessment is your partner in digital assessment.

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