The Hoot Cardbox


Hoot finally includes Cardbox quiz options.

A cardbox is a quiz method where items are moved from numbered boxes based on successful answers. As the items are moved, the frequency of quizzes is decreased. Users of Zyzzyva's cardbox system are familiar with this system, so I will forego explaining the Leitner cardbox system until a later post.

The Hoot cardbox uses many concepts included in the Zyzzyva system, and even supports quizzing from Zyzzyva and Collins Zyzzyva databases if the same lexicon is present in Hoot.

A cardbox file can be created by searching and then using the context menu option Save to Cardbox. This clip shows a search for 7 letter consonant dumps. The user has an option of saving to Anagrams, Hooks, As Stems, or List. Anagrams and Hooks are self-explanatory to Scrabble users. As Stems is a quiz type where the user is presented with the word plus a blank and asked to anagram that. Beginners study stems like TISANE using this method.

There there is the list, a cardbox set up for a particular list of words.

List Cardboxes

Since the new feature of Hoot is the addition of List cardboxes, let's look at them. When selecting List as the type of cardbox to create, a dialog box asks for information about the list. Title and Description are self explanatory. There are multiple quiz type options available. The most common is the Anagram quiz, where users build words from the alphagram of the term. Some of the others could be useful, or not so much. I'll look at options to omit. When selecting BlankAnagrams, the terms are tested as stems. 

Each list quiz is graded at the end of the quiz. The Passing Score indirectly determines when a quiz is rescheduled. The box number is determined by the relative score. When you pass a list quiz it is moved to box 1 or higher. A score of 100 moves the list to box number 10.

Individual items in a list also have specifications, including things like box numbers and last_attempt dates.

Selecting Quizzes

Users take  a quiz by selecting Cardbox Quiz from the Search tab of the ribbon. This presents a list of programs, lexicons, and quiz options. As in Zyzzyva, the cards in each box are scheduled based on box number and when previously tested. In Anagrams, a quiz will only show words scheduled to be shown. If you want to test on words that are scheduled in the future you can change the quiz date to the schedule date of the cards. Presently, although list quizzes have schedule dates you can take them at any time.

If selecting a list quiz, users then select the list to quiz.  

Taking a Quiz

Again, since lists are the new feature, this example illustrates the List Quiz. 

One difference between Hoot and Zyzzyva is that you can either enter words separately or in a box. Listed separately they are verified after each entry, and added to the list. The Grade button compares correct answers with your answers, and Next goes to the next word. However, Hoot examines the keystrokes so it's not necessary to use the buttons. In Single Entry mode, Hoot grades the quiz after a blank entry. In box mode, Hoot grades the quiz word after entering a blank line. Pressing Enter again goes to the next word.


In List quizzes, there is another option for grading the list. After all words have been attempted you can End Quiz to grade the quiz. This is what moves the list to the next box (hopefully). If you quit the quiz before finishing all the words in the list, Hoot will ask if you want to Continue the quiz the next time you select that list.

Quizzing Zyzzyva

While Hoot quizzes are designed for Hoot, like Xerafin, I've attempted to make them compatible with Zyzzyva files. You can even select quiz cardboxes from Zyzzyva files, provided the same lexicon name is in Hoot. If a similar lexicon is available you can simply rename it to match the Zyzzyva lexicon.

One difference is the movement of cards for missed cards. While Zyzzyva moves the card to box 0, Hoot moves it half way back, rounded down. For examples, box 1 > box 0, box 2 > box 1, box 3 > box 1, box 4 > box 2, etc.


When quizzing anagrams, Hoot is very similar to Zyzzyva. One difference is that you can either enter words separately or in a list. Listed separately they are verified after each entry. 


Quizzes for Hooks are different. While Zyzzyva tests on the hook letters that can be used, Hoot tests on the Hook words formed.

Card Management

The Card Management tool can be used to manipulate words in each cardbox or list. You could also add/create lists from this tool. This tool is somewhat cluttered, so you can expect to see some changes here, although most users may never need to use it. 


The cardbox databases are stored in the Cards folder of the Hoot user. 

Options to add

There are many options I am considering adding to the system, including sorting options, list conversions, copying cardboxes, alternate lexicon selection, etc. If you see an option that you think is important, let me know.

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