Assessments: Using Sections in Cirrus

Cirrus Assessment Support Team -

Dividing questions into Sections in your assessment

In Cirrus you can easily add Sections to your assessment: context blocks with associated questions. Sections are sometimes also known as a 'casus',  'use case' or 'stimulus pane'. You create the specific case text (with options for images or video) in your Library like any regular item.

Adding a Section to your assessment


  • You have selected your questions and generated your assessment form in the previous steps.
  • Open your assessment form and use the ‘Add Section’-button to split the assessment into blocks of questions and create a section. The 'Add Section-page' will open:

  • Here you will chose which section page to be displayed on the left side of the screen of your candidates.
  • Tip: you can preview the section pages by clicking the magnifying icon
  • Tip: you can use the ID to know exactly which section page you're selecting.
  • Select the Section page you want to use for this section and click 'Save'. 

Selecting the questions that go into your Section 

Manually adding questions to your section
Linking questions to your sections (friends)

Manually adding questions to your section in your assessment form

  • The 'Select Questions -tab' is where you can add (or remove) and order the questions for this section:


  1. Simply drag and drop the items you need into the section.
  2. To remove items drag them to the list of available questions.
  3. These items can be presented to candidates on fixed or random order, by ticking the 'Randomise' box.
  4. You can search questions by question text, item ID or labels added.
  5. Don't forget to click 'Save and Close' when done. Alternatively click 'Save' and go to the 'Options'-tab to create a Timed Section.

Tip: when you create you questions and the linked section page you can 

  1. Use the Item ID's to link them. Example: Section xx belongs to questions xx-1, xx-2, section yy belongs to questions yy-1, yy-2 
  2. Add labels to your questions and section to easily recognise which ones belong together
  3. You can search on both labels and item ID on the question selection tab - see image above 

Linking questions to your sections (friends) in the library

It is possible to add questions directly to section pages in collections. These questions will automatically be grouped when creating the test forms manually. [Blueprint implementation will follow]. Questions belonging to a section cannot be used individually. This is called "friendly items":


  1. Use the "Add questions button" to link items to your section. By adding questions to sections, these questions will always be drawn together from the library
  2. Under "Questions" you will see a list of linked friendly items.
    1. You can click the item text to open te question.
    2. Upon mouse-over you will see details such full question text, Question Type, ItemID and workflow status
  3. Warning when not all are "Live": All linked friendly items of a section need to have the status "Live" in order to use your section in an assessment. That is why when you try to save a section linked to non-live items you will get a warning "Not all linked questions are “Live” - section status will revert to Draft upon saving."

Please note that when you use a section with added friendly items the following applies:

  1. When you select a section with friendly items it is all or nothing: you cannot add or remove questions in your assessment form to such a section. 
  2. Friendly questions cannot be used individually in other sections for example.
  3. Sections will not show if there are withdrawn / non-live questions in it
  4. If a sections with friendly items is used in an assessment, you cannot add/remove items to it in the library.

Options: Timed Sections

To create a Timed Section you go to the Options tab to set the timer:

Read more about Timed Sections

Please note: in the Library you can add Section pages which form the basis for sections in your assessments. Section pages contain the text for your section, a paragraph related to multiple question for example.

Previewing your Section in the Assessment

You can easily preview your assessment to see the power of using sections.

Please note that the top bar with the timer does not show in the candidate preview, so in order to preview timed sections you need to use anonymous sharing to preview this. (Don't forget to disable this when done).

Timed sections

Timed sections allow assessment authors to create sections consisting of a stimulus pane on the left and a subsets of related questions on the right that need to be answered within a given time frame by the candidate, for example 30 minutes. The timer for this starts as soon as the candidates opens one of the questions in the section.


Using Timed Sections as an Author

Authors using timed sections this means they need to take into account the following:

Assessment window: determines time frame when assessment can be taken. Candidates can only take the assessment during this time frame. 


Assessment duration: determines the overall time available for taking the whole assessment. (see assessment window).

Section timer: determines the time available to answer the questions in that section.

During this time the candidate can answer the questions and move in and out of the section. The timer starts when the first question of the section is opened.

After the section timer has expired the candidate will only be allowed to see the questions and any answer given, but will no longer be able to answer any questions in the section or edit any answer given to questions within that section.

Please note when using timed sections: It is up to the assessment author to keep in mind the assessment duration, i.e. that the total length of timed section(s) does not exceed the total time available for the whole assessment.

Tip: you have the choice to only allow candidates to answer the questions in a set order should you choose so.

How to set a timed section:

  • Make sure you've created a section page in your Library to be used
  • Go to Assessments and open the assessment that needs a Timed Section
  • Go to the Generate Assessment Tab
  • Add a section as per usual
  • In step 3 go to Options and set the timer
  • Click 'Save and Close'.

Important notice: if you need to regenerate you assessment which already contains sections, these will be lost. You will have to add them anew and include the relevant questions.

Informing your candidates on the use of timed sections:

Tip: you can instruct your candidates on the rules for timed sections in the introduction text of your assessment.

Please note: There will not be any warning / pop-ups for the candidate warning him for example when they leave a timed section or when the timer of a section runs out.

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