According to many dictionaries, "pop quiz" (American English) is like a surprise informal test without warning in advance to test if a student has studied at home.

In Britain, one beautiful day, a teacher gives his students a surprise informal test without warning.

What will that teacher call that test?

Will he say "let's have surprise test today"?

What is the British word for the American word "pop quiz"?

  • 1
    Why do you think it's just an American term?
    – gotube
    Commented May 24, 2023 at 3:55
  • @gotube, the because most dictionaries say it is an American term and many British people on the internet say they never use "pop quiz" as a "surprise test".
    – Tom
    Commented May 24, 2023 at 4:41
  • I'd guess this is another one of those things we Brits didn't have a good buzzword for, so we borrowed the American. It happens, quite a lot these days. Commented May 24, 2023 at 7:57
  • It's a new one on me. I would have expected a 'pop quiz' to be a TV game show about pop music! Commented May 24, 2023 at 8:19
  • @Kate unless you are in education, you are unlikely to be giving short surprise quizzes to people you work with, so probably don't need to use the term.
    – James K
    Commented May 24, 2023 at 19:23

1 Answer 1


"Pop quiz" would be understood and used by most teachers in Britain too. If not then just "test" or "quiz" (with the informality implied)

Or the teacher might just use descriptive language. "surprise quiz" - it's not an idiom, but just putting an adjective in front of the noun.

  • Fun fact: it is the subject of fairly extensive philosophical debate, whether a genuine "surprise" quiz is even possible. 🤓See, for example, SEP
    – tkp
    Commented May 24, 2023 at 4:29
  • Here are some 'pop quizzes', thus named, used at a typical UK school in Lancashire Commented May 24, 2023 at 7:26

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