What is Problem Roulette?


An awesome exam study service for students.

Problem Roulette (PR) is a point-free study service that offers topical access to a library of locally-authored exam problems in selected foundational courses at the University of Michigan.  Since 2013, PR has served over 7 million problems to more than 20,000 students across 8 introductory courses.

Self-directed study and assessment.

By giving students risk- and point-free access to topically-selected problems extracted from prior exams, PR supports both practice testing and distributed practice, study methodologies found to be highly effective by education research meta-analysis.  The authenticity of the material is a strong attractor; a large majority of students in supported courses use PR as a study aid in spite of its point-free nature.   PR provides instant feedback to students, allowing them to assess their problem solving accuracy and speed as they develop subject competency.

Equal access for all students.

Instructors in large introductory courses have traditionally posted a small number of past exams to a course management system to support practice testing by students.  Over time, the scarce resource of old exams become prized commodities, motivating certain student groups to hoard stashes of old exams for added advantage.  By providing access to thousands of old exam problems to all students, PR serves to level such social imbalances.

Student testimonials

The refreshing thing about PR was that I could actually practice all the formulas and concepts I had learned in class on new problems; no longer relying on memorization, the concepts actually stuck with me at exam time.

The features I enjoyed most which I think made Problem Roulette superior to other forms of studying were the results on the average time students took to answer the problem and the percentage of students who got it correct. That allowed me to better evaluate my readiness for the exam and as someone who tends to take too long on each individual problem it allowed me to work more on my timing so that by the time the exam came around I could finish in the allotted time.

It allowed for a different approach to studying that didn’t involve a specific number of questions to complete, or time constrains. In this way, a lot of the pressure was relieved, which allowed me to move slightly faster along the problems.