Quizzes are one of Moodle's most useful activities. While it does take several steps to create a quiz, once you've done it a few times, you'll find that it's not difficult to do—and it will save you hours of grading.
In Moodle, you can create and deploy tests with randomized questions that ensure each student takes a unique version of a test or require students to take the same test one question at a time with no backtracking. Most faculty deploy multiple choice and true false questions in their tests, but you can also create matching, fill in the blank, drag and drop, and "hot spot" questions. Note: Moodle uses the term "quizzes," but the following instructions apply equally to tests and exams.
For best results, we recommend using the following basic procedure:
- Create question "categories" (question pools or test banks).
- Add questions to your categories.
- Create a quiz shell and set options for how and when the quiz is deployed.
- Add questions from your categories to the quiz shell.
Navigational Note: We've designed this page to make it easy to select the information you need once you open a section, but the sliders don't always open at the top of the screen. For best viewing results, be sure that you can see the name of each section at the top of your screen after you open the slider.
Helpful Hint: There are a lot of nuances to working with quizzes that we've learned the hard way. As you review these instructions, keep an eye out for Notes and Tips that might be helpful to you.
Step 1: Create Question Categories
Setting up pools ("categories") for your questions makes it possible to: 1) select the questions you want for a particular test, 2) set up random blocks of questions in a test, 3) re-use questions in multiple tests, and 4) copy questions to another course. To create a category:
- Click on the admin gear in the upper right corner of your course home page, then click on More…
- In the Question bank area, click on the Categories link.
- In the Add category section of the next screen (shown below), make sure the Parent category displays "Default for [course name]."
- Under Name, enter a title for the pool of questions (e.g., Chapter 1). (If you plan to add more than nine categories, name your pools 01, 02, etc. so that they will be listed in the correct order.)
- Click on Add category.
- Repeat steps 3-5 to create all of the pools you will need for your course.
TIP: Be sure that "Default for [course name]" is selected as the parent category each time you add a category – Moodle sometimes tries to make the newest category the parent for your next one!
Step 2: Add Questions to Categories
Questions can come from three sources:
A. Moodle itself
B. Word documents in Aiken format
C. Publisher test banks
For questions that come from Word documents or publisher files, you'll need to:
D. Import a test bank
Note: You can combine imported questions and manually created questions if you wish.
A. Questions from Moodle
If you have just a few questions to add, it's easiest to create them directly in Moodle. To manually create a question:
- Click on the admin gear in the upper right corner of your course home page, then click on More....
- In the Question bank area, click on the Questions link.
- From the pull-down menu at the top of the page, select the category where you wish to add questions (e.g., Chapter 1).
- Click on Create a new question.
- Select the type of question you wish to add and click on Next. (Learn more about question types at Moodle.org or see our guide to advanced question types.)
- Enter the question and potential responses. While the fields provided will depend on the question type, here's an overview:
- Question name. Assign your question a unique name (e.g., Essay1-1 for the first essay question in chapter 1). Note: Moodle stores questions in alphabetical order by question name. Students will not see the question name.
- Question text. Enter the question in the Question text box. You can copy text from Word by using Ctrl+C and paste it with Ctrl+V.
- Default points. All questions have a default point value of 1. If all of the questions in a quiz will have the same value, leave the default set to 1: you can control the number of points assigned to each question by changing the maximum number of points possible for the quiz. Moodle will rescale the points as necessary: a quiz with 20 1-point questions can be created with total maximum points of 50—each question will count as 2.5 points when the quiz is graded by Moodle.
- General feedback. Moodle provides multiple opportunities for feedback. For example, you can provide targeted feedback for each specific answer selected or general feedback for any wrong answer. You may leave the feedback fields empty.
- For multiple choice questions:
- Adjust the One or multiple answers? option if the question has more than one right answer.
- Check the Shuffle the choices box to display the answer choices in random order for each student, as long as the quiz itself is set to shuffle answer choices (see the "Question Behavior" option in the Create quiz section below). Be cautious about checking this option if any of the answer choices contain "All of the above," "None of the above," numbers or dates. For all or none of the above, answers can usually be revised to "All of these" or "None of these." In the case of numbers or dates, we recommend leaving these response options in numerical or chronological order rather than shuffling them. When you create the quiz settings, you'll have the opportunity to select random question order to ensure that every student takes a different version of the quiz.
- Enter the first possible answer in the Choice 1 field and specific feedback in the feedback field, if desired. Add the other answer choices in the fields provided.
- Select 100% from the pull-down menu in the Grade field to identify the correct answer.
- Penalty points (advanced feature). The default quiz set-up does not assess penalty points, but Moodle allows you to deduct points for incorrect answers. If you don’t intend to assess penalty points for multiple attempts, you do not need to change the default value provided.
- Once you've entered the question and possible answers, scroll down and click on Save changes. Repeat steps 4-6 to add more questions manually.
B. Questions from Word Documents
If you want to create a number of multiple choice or true/false questions, an easy way to post them in Moodle is to import them from a Word document using the "Aiken" format. If you need to add just a few questions, it's easier to create them directly in Moodle.
Note #1: You must follow the formatting exactly as shown below in order for the import to work. (See this sample Aiken format file.) We recommend importing a sample document with just two or three questions into Moodle to make sure the formatting is correct before drafting the entire document. The most common error in producing an Aiken formatted document is not using capitals letters for each answer choice or in the word "ANSWER."
Note #2: After you import your questions, Moodle will display them in alphabetical order, not in the order they appear in your file.
- Create an Aiken-format File
- Adapt an Existing Word Document
- Save in UTF-8 Format
- Turn Off Auto List Mode
Create an Aiken-format File
- Create a Word document and type each question as a single paragraph. Do not include a question number. Let the text wrap—press the [Enter] key only when you reach the end of the question.
- Introduce each answer choice with a single capitalized letter followed by a period or closing parenthesis and a space [A., B., C. or A), B), C)]. Press the [Enter] key just once after each answer choice. (See Turn Off Auto List Mode if needed.)
- Introduce the correct answer with the word ANSWER in all capitals followed by a colon, one space and the capitalized letter corresponding to the correct answer (e.g., ANSWER: A).
- Insert one return between an ANSWER line and the following question.
- Save the document in UTF-8 format as described here.
The following example of Aiken format demonstrates that you can use periods or parentheses for each answer choice. Note: True/False questions are treated as multiple choice, introduced with "A." and "B." (The ¶ symbols below are shown to indicate where hard returns should be placed. They will not actually be visible in your document unless you have Word set to display paragraph marks.)
Adapt an Existing Word Document
- Follow the instructions for saving a file as Plain Text UTF-8. This will shut off auto-numbering and allow you to reformat the text as needed.
- Assess what needs to be adjusted in the text to convert it to Aiken format. Common adjustments include: removing extra paragraph returns between questions and possible answers, removing page headers and footers, substituting ANSWER for ANS, and capitalizing letters that introduce potential answers.
- Use "Find and Replace" wherever possible to make the necessary adjustments. To add capital letters to responses, for instance, set the replace option to Match case and replace "a." with "A." To remove extra paragraph returns, replace ^p^p [two returns] with ^p.
- Manually delete the number for each question.
- Review the file carefully, being especially mindful of the number of returns between questions and answers, as well as between questions.
- Save your work frequently and save once again in Plain Text format when ready.
Save in UTF-8 Format
After drafting your questions, you need to save your document in Plain Text UTF-8 format. This will ensure that your text will be read correctly when it is imported into Moodle.
Saving in Plain Text UTF-8 using Word
- Click on the Office button or File tab and select Save As > Other Formats.
- Name your file to reflect its contents (e.g., chapter 1 pool).
- Under "Save as type," click on the pull-down arrow and scroll down the list.
- Select Plain Text (*.txt) and click on Save.
- In the "Text encoding" dialogue box, select Other encoding.
- Select Unicode (UTF-8).
- Click on OK.
Saving in Plain Text UTF-8 using Word for Mac
- Choose File, Save As.
- Name your file to reflect its contents (e.g., chapter 1 pool).
- From the "Format" drop-down menu, choose Plain Text (.txt).
- Click on Save.
- In the File Conversion screen, choose Other encoding (under Text encoding).
- In the box at right, scroll down (if necessary) and select Unicode 5.0 UTF-8.
- Click on OK.
Turn Off Auto List Mode
You may need to turn off Word's automatic bulleted list feature to format your file:
- Click on the File tab, then scroll way down and click on Options.
- Click on Proofing, then AutoCorrect Options….
- On the AutoFormat As You Type tab, deselect Automatic bulleted lists.
- On the AutoFormat tab, deselect Automatic bulleted lists, as well.
- Click on OK, then click on the Home tab to continue editing your document.
C. Questions from Publishers
Many publishers provide test banks that can be uploaded directly into Moodle. In other cases, they offer a test generator which you can download to create your own question pools. Exams created from test generators can be exported in Moodle or Blackboard format, and then imported into Moodle. If the publisher only makes test banks available in Word format, see the prior section of this guide.
The following formats can be imported into Moodle:
- Moodle XML
- Blackboard (version 6 or higher) – A test bank saved in Blackboard format can often be successfully imported into Moodle. If you have trouble with this format, see these instructions to Troubleshoot Publisher Test Banks.
- Respondus – The CIS has a Respondus license and we'd be happy to help you out with importing test banks in this format—just give us a call.
For test banks posted on the publisher's site, download the file(s) and save to your computer. If a single .zip file is provided, extract the files and save to your computer. See the instructions below to import the questions to your course.
CAUTION: Allow several days' lead time to upload and create a quiz from a publisher’s test bank. Sometimes, the process is quite straightforward and painless, while other times…… it really isn’t! A lot depends on the individual publisher. Also, if you're creating pools with a test generator, do a trial run of the import process with the first pool you create to make sure that the questions import correctly. Note: Blackboard format nearly always works, if Moodle doesn't.
D. Import a Test Bank
The process for uploading a test bank file is similar for files provided by a publisher and for Word documents saved in Aiken format. If you have not already created categories (see above), you should do so before taking these steps. Note: Test banks downloaded directly from publishers generally create their own category when you import them into Moodle. Import a file before creating categories to see if your publisher's files are already in categories.
- Open the Question bank link (admin gear, then More…) and click on the Import tab. (If you still have the Question bank page open, click on the Import tab as shown here.)
- Select the File format that corresponds to your question bank.
- Open the General options area and use the Import category pull-down menu to select the test bank category where you wish to add your questions. Ignore the other settings in the General options area.
- Drag and drop your file into the file picker box or click on Choose a file…, browse for the file and click on Upload this file.
- Wait for the file to load—the file name will change from black to red when it's done uploading.
- Click on Import. If the process is successful, a list of questions will appear. For a file in Aiken format, if no questions or the incorrect number of questions appear, review your document to make sure you have correctly followed the formatting requirements. Be sure that: the question text doesn't include a paragraph return, answer choices all begin with a capital letter followed by a "." or ")", and the word "ANSWER" is in all caps (and correctly spelled!).
- Click on Continue at the bottom of the import confirmation page. (Or click on a different tab, then click back to the Import tab to bring in another test bank.)
- Repeat steps 2-7 for each additional pool, being careful to choose the correct category from the General options area each time.
After you've uploaded your files, you can review all of the questions from a publisher's test bank. Be on the lookout for symbols that may have come across instead of apostrophes (e.g., ¥™).
Step 3: Create a Quiz
Once you have created categories and populated them with questions, you're ready to create a quiz.
- With editing turned on, scroll to the section where you wish to conduct the quiz (e.g., Topic 3 or Week 3), click on the Add an activity or resource link.
- Select Quiz and click on Add. Note: After you create the quiz, to change any of the settings below, select Edit settings from the quiz administration menu.
- Provide a name for the quiz and use the Description textbox to provide instructions for your students. Here is an example of the type of information that can be included: This quiz is open book, open notes and covers Chapters 1, 2 and 3. You may take this quiz only once. Please review the instructions for taking tests in Moodle before taking this quiz and follow the instructions carefully. Click on the Attempt quiz now button (below) to begin the quiz. Open only when ready to begin. There are 5 pages with 5 questions each (total of 25 multiple choice questions). To move to the next page, click on the page number in the upper left column or on the Next button at the bottom of the page. When you have answered all of the questions, click on Submit all and finish.
Note: Moodle will automatically display the description, any time limits, date restrictions, and the number of attempts allowed when students click on the quiz link. They cannot begin a quiz until the start date/time arrives.
A. Quiz Options
Set all quiz options as desired, paying special attention to the notes provided. We've starred the areas (*) that you should be sure to set. Click on the Help icon next to an item for more information.
- Question Behavior
- Review options*
- Extra restrictions on attempts
- Overall feedback
- Common module settings
- Restrict access
- Completion tracking*
- To set dates to open and/or close the quiz, check the Enable box(es) and select a date and time (keeping in mind that Moodle uses a 24-hour clock). Leave either or both Enable boxes unchecked to make the quiz available indefinitely.
- Open and close dates determine when students may view the test questions and submit their responses. These dates do not determine whether students can see the link for the test and the test description. Visibility of the test link is controlled by "Common module settings" and "Restrict access" settings (see below). Access for students to the "Attempt quiz link" is controlled by the Timing settings.
- Click on the Enable box in the Time limit field in order to control the amount of time students have to complete the quiz. (See Accommodating Students with Disabilities or Special Circumstances below to provide extensions to students.)
IMPORTANT! If you set a time limit for your test, make sure that the When time expires option is set to Open attempts are submitted automatically. This setting will ensure that students receive credit for the answers they have completed within the time allowed.
- Select a grade category for the quiz if you categorize graded items in your grade book.
- Indicate how many times a student can take the quiz. If you allow multiple attempts, Moodle will record the highest score a student earns on the quiz by default.
- By default, quizzes will have five questions per page. This layout makes the test manageable for students and reduces the chances of a student's browser timing out.
- If an essay question will likely take more than 10 minutes to answer, we recommend that you display only one essay question per page to minimize server timeout problems. (If you wish, you can have students submit a file response rather than type directly in an essay response field.)
- Set Shuffle within questions to Yes if you want answer choices to appear in random order. Note: Choices will appear in random order only if the question itself is set to allow this.
- Deferred feedback requires students to submit the entire quiz before they get any feedback on individual questions. Adjusting question behavior may result in effects that you don't anticipate, so we recommend using the default setting.
- Indicate what elements your students will see after they complete the quiz at three key points:
1) immediately after they complete the quiz,
2) later while the quiz is still open to others, and finally,
3) when the quiz is closed.
By default, students only see their score. The example above displays the default options until after the quiz closes, with additional information shown after the quiz closes. (See this article on setting review options for details.)
- To expand review options, begin by checking the box for The attempt. This will allow you to check any of the other options.
- Note: If you choose options for After the quiz is closed, be sure that a close date has been set in the Timing option area.
Recommended Settings. For major exams, we suggest displaying only the score (Points) to students until after the quiz closes in order to discourage the sharing of questions and answers. We also recommend not displaying correct answers until after the quiz is closed, if at all.
Extra restrictions on attempts
- A password is necessary if the test will be proctored (see related section in the Learn More section).
TIP: Choose a password that is not easily guessable and check the Unmask box to see the password as you type it.
- If you'd like to provide general feedback to students on their scores, enter it in the textboxes provided, indicating the grade range to which you want each feedback message to apply.
- Be sure you've selected Overall feedback in the Review options area to display the feedback.
Common module settings
- If Availability is set to Show on course page, students will be able to view the quiz link on their course page and open it to read the quiz description. Remember, the test questions themselves will only be visible based on the open and close dates set in the Timing area.
IMPORTANT! If this option is set to Hide from students, students will not be able to see the quiz, regardless of how the Timing and Restrict access options are set. It must be visible for students to take it.
- This section provides another way to control when students can access the quiz link. Unless you have a compelling need to control this quiz link, we recommend leaving this section blank and letting the quiz availability be determined by the Timing and Common module settings options.
- To track which students have taken the quiz and ensure that the students' boxes won't be checked off unless they submit a quiz, use the pull-down menu to select Show activity as complete when conditions are met.
- Checking "Students must receive a grade…" will check the completion box after the quiz is submitted (unless there are essay questions that need to be manually graded).
- If you check the "Require passing grade" option, you must also set the score for a passing grade for the quiz in the Grade option area above.
B. Finalize Quiz Settings
Click on Save and display to add questions to the quiz shell.
Note: You can change the quiz options at any time. To do so, open the quiz and click on Edit settings in the quiz admin gear or click on Edit, then Edit settings on the course main page.
TIME SAVING TIP: When creating several quizzes, return to the course main page and click on the Edit link to access the Duplicate icon and copy your quiz settings into additional quiz shells. Edit each new quiz to update the instructions and availability dates as needed, then add questions as described in the next section below.
Check Your Settings
When you click on the quiz link from your course main page, you can review the instructions you provided to students in the Description textbox. You'll also see information about how many attempts are possible, and any timing information that you selected. This is what students will see when they click on the link, as well.
Step 4: Add Questions to a Quiz
Once the quiz settings are complete, you're ready to add questions to the quiz shell. To add questions, you need to edit the quiz.
- Open the quiz link, if necessary, then click on Edit quiz or click on the admin gear, then on the Edit quiz link.
- On the Editing quiz page, click on Add to display your options for adding questions.
- To add a NEW QUESTION to the quiz, click on + a new question, then follow the instructions above for creating a question from scratch in Moodle.
Specific Questions from a Test Bank
To add SPECIFIC QUESTIONS to the quiz—recommended for midterms and final exams where you want to be sure everyone answers the same questions—click on + from question bank and select the desired category from the pull-down menu at the top of the dialogue box.
Questions from the selected category will be displayed on your screen. Use the check box at the top of the column to select all of the questions or choose individual questions. (To preview a question, click on the magnifying glass icon on its right.) When you have chosen all of the questions you wish to add, click on Add selected questions to the quiz to return to the quiz canvas.
To add a RANDOM BLOCK of questions to the quiz—recommended for reading quizzes and routine tests with multiple attempts—click on + a random question and select the desired category from the pull-down menu at the top of the dialogue box.
Use the pull-down menu to choose the number of random questions to add. Select up to 10 or multiples of 10 questions at a time. (You may need to add more than one random block in order to get the total number of questions you need, e.g., one batch of 10 plus a second batch of 5 for a total of 15 questions, but don't choose more questions than you have in the category!)
Click on the Add random question button to add the questions to the quiz canvas.
Once you have selected questions, you'll be returned to the quiz canvas as shown below—specific questions in the image on the left, random questions on the right—where you can:
- adjust the maximum grade (quizzes default to 100 points—see below) and Save,
- add new questions or select another question bank to pull in more questions,
- drag and drop questions to reposition them,
- delete a single question,
- click on an insert page break icon to move questions to a new page, and
- revise the points possible for any item.
If you choose specific questions, you can select the Shuffle option if you wish. You can also edit an individual question or preview it. (You can edit a question at any time—even after students have taken a quiz—you just can't add or delete a question.)
Finalize the quiz as needed:
Adjust Maximum Grade
By default, quizzes are created with 100 points possible. You can make a quiz worth as many points as you wish—regardless of the number of points assigned to each question, Moodle will automatically scale the value of each question up or down based on the Maximum grade setting. In these examples, the face value of the questions is 32 (one point each), while the quiz itself is set for 100 points. Enter the preferred maximum possible for the quiz in the Maximum grade field and click on Save to adjust the total possible points.
To manually adjust the point value for an individual question, click on the pencil in the box next to the question, type in the new value, and click on [Enter].
If you need to remove questions from a quiz, click on the Select multiple items button. Next, select the specific questions you want to delete or click on the Select all link, then click on the Delete selected button.
Preview Quiz & Verify Settings
From the edit quiz page, click on the name of the quiz in the breadcrumb trail at the top of the page to open the quiz link. From the course main page, click on the name of the quiz. Click on the quiz admin gear in the upper right corner, then click on Preview quiz now to see how your test will look to students. If you randomize your questions or use random blocks, preview it multiple times to see how it changes.
Verify or change the quiz settings (e.g., time limit, open and close dates, etc.) by clicking on the quiz admin gear, then Edit settings. Click on Edit quiz to make changes to the questions.
Accommodate Students with Disabilities or Special Circumstances
Moodle allows you to override quiz settings for individual students. For example, a student may need to take the quiz later than the rest of the class, or you may receive a faculty notification letter from Disability Resources informing you that a student needs additional time to take a test due to a documented disability. The quiz will remain off-limits to the rest of the class while it is available to the accommodated student. See these instructions for creating a quiz override.
Note: Overrides must be applied to each quiz; they do not carry over from one quiz to another.
View and Grade Quizzes
When you create a quiz, a corresponding item is created in the grade book. Moodle will grade most question types as soon as a test is submitted and automatically enter the scores in the grade book. To view quiz results:
- Click on the link for the test in the course main page. You'll see the test description and the total number of attempts that have been made.
- Click on Attempts: # or click on the quiz admin gear, then Grades to view students' attempts.
- Click on a student's score to see the test as it was presented and submitted.
Note: Students may flag questions as they take quizzes. Flags have meaning solely to them; flags don't affect quiz results in any way.
This image illustrates what a student might see after submitting a quiz. The quiz is time and date stamped, and the score is posted. If the review options set for the quiz allow students to see their attempt after they submit the quiz, there will be a Review link available to them as shown here. Note that students have a link that will take them Back to the course.
Grade Essay Questions
If your quiz contains essay questions, you will need to manually grade them. See Grade Quiz Items Manually for instructions.
Clear a Quiz Attempt
If a student experiences problems in submitting a test, follow these steps to clear the test attempt and allow a re-take:
- Open the test link and click on the Attempts: # link.
- Check the box to the left of the attempt associated with the student's name. (If necessary, click on Last name at the top of the column to sort attempts by last names.)
- Scroll down to the bottom of the table and click on the Delete selected attempts button.
- Click on Yes to confirm the deletion.
You may find that you need to adjust scores on quizzes in Moodle because:
- The wrong choice was selected as the correct answer.
- A question turns out to have multiple correct answers.
- A question was not clearly stated.
You can adjust quiz scores individually or for all students at once. See this article to learn more about adjusting scores.
Provide Instructions for Students
Test taking instructions for students can be found in this Guide to Taking Tests in Moodle. We recommend that you include a link to this article in your course. Take a few minutes to review these instructions so that you become familiar with best practices for taking tests and can better assist your students.
Note: If a student experiences a problem submitting a test, suggest using the Back button in the browser to return to the test and try to submit again. If the second attempt is not successful, you will need to clear the test attempt to allow the student to re-take the test. If the test contains many questions, note that there will likely be fewer problems if you ensure that the quiz is set to display no more than one essay question or five other questions per page.
Administer a Proctored Exam
If you wish to have an exam proctored for your students, Moodle offers solutions for managing the process as well as administering the test itself. Students may take the exam at a proctored site or with an online proctoring service such as ProctorU. This article explains how to conduct a proctored exam.
Drop the Lowest
If you use categories in your gradebook, you can set up a quiz category so that it doesn't count the lowest score of the quizzes completed. See this article to learn how to drop the lowest score in a series of quizzes.
Batch Update Quiz Dates
If you import course content from term to term, you know that it takes time to update the availability dates and times for your quizzes. This article describes how to update timing settings for a bunch of quizzes at one time.