Coming from an industry that thrives on certifications; after trying out all of the existing security quiz skills, I found them far too general, glitchy, and difficult to navigate, in preparation for my exams. So, I noted down all of the improvements I made and found my partner Ash to help me build what I claim to be the most advanced quiz skill available on the Alexa Store. I even went as far and responsibly sourcing the question library from a reputable online quiz vendor.

What it does

The skill provides students and professionals alike, with the highly intuitive skill to practice questions for the CISSP certification, including email notifications of quiz results.

You can prepare for your CISSP exam by testing your knowledge against expertly crafted practice questions from the world-renowned CCCure Quiz Engine. This skill can also be used to hone your security knowledge, whether you are just getting into cybersecurity or you are a seasoned expert.

The free version gives you 10 questions that you can take at any time.

There is also a paid monthly subscription which gives you access to the following premium features -

  • CCCure Full Question Library - Gives you access to a large library of 450 questions, created and updated by CCCure.
  • Unlimited Quizzes - Take as many quizzes as you want per month.
  • Domain Selection - Allows you to select questions from any one of the eight domains from the Common Body of Knowledge or take a mixed quiz that randomly selects from all domains. This feature helps to focus your quiz on specific Domains where you may need more practice or when you want to take a mix of all Domains.
  • Select Custom Number of Questions - Allows you to select a custom number of questions for your quiz starting with a minimum of 5 questions. This feature helps to limit your quiz size depending on how much time you have to finish your quiz.
  • Email Results - An email will be sent to you with your results (e.g., CISSP domains, time to finish the quiz, number correct, number incorrect, etc.) after you finish your quiz. This feature helps to keep track of your quiz performance over time.
  • Pause and Resume - Allows you to pause a quiz and resume it at another time. This feature is helpful when you unexpectedly run out of time and need to save your place in a quiz.
  • Flash Card Mode - Allows you to put Alexa in dictation mode where Alexa will cycle through a number of questions by reading the question, multiple choices, and the correct answer. This feature is helpful when you are in a place or situation where you cannot speak back to Alexa - e.g., Library, Gym, Class, etc.

How we built it

After engaging Ash, I built a voice interaction model incorporating all of the improvements I noted from other skills in the store. Once the VUI design was finalized, we used Alexa Skills Kit v2 for Node.js to build our skill. The skill makes use of AWS to host the endpoint as well as the database and other resources.

The skill also supports Alexa Presentation Language for seamless multimodal interaction.

Challenges we ran into

The major challenge we ran into while building this skill was the ISP integration. We had to build a freemium experience for the new user, keeping in mind to give him a glimpse of most of the functionalities in the skill while still keeping value for people who purchase the premium experience. Also managing questions from a lot of different domains and adding timers was slightly challenging.

Accomplishments that we're proud of

We were able to build an advanced skill with not only In-Skill Purchases and Alexa Presentation Language but other USPs like getting your results emailed to you and keeping a track of how you performed in various sub-domains of the quiz and much more which the user can explore.

What we learned

Working with ISPs was new for us, and building a skill which focuses on being an interactive quiz, we had to make sure all the conversational aspects were short and concise without putting much of a cognitive load on the user, which he can put to better use in answering the quiz questions and improving his cybersecurity knowledge.

What's next for CISSP Quiz

Given the value in the code base, how well it is written, and its extensibility - we plan on using it as a shell to propagate into other industries that are certification heavy and build many more skills.

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