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Uploading multiple choice questions in bulk to Moodle

This page has been updated to reflect the Moodle 3.9 upgrade

***The content on this page will be continually updated.

Last updated: November 28, 2023, 1:45 p.m.

Adding questions in bulk can be a time-saving way to populate quizzes. There are a few ways of adding quiz questions to Moodle in bulk. One of these is the AIKEN format is a very easy way to add questions using a Word processor.  However, please note it is only possible to upload multiple choice questions.

The process consists of two basic steps:

1. Create the text file with the questions

2. Import the questions into Moodle by uploading the text file

Part I: Creating multiple-choice questions in a text file using the Aiken format

Creating a single document containing all of your multiple-choice questions will save you time, especially if you have a large number of questions. You can then this document into Moodle’s Question Bank in one go. You can further edit your questions and answer choices in Moodle once imported. These instructions follow the Aiken format

Note: There is another Format called GIFT, which supports the import of multiple-choice, true or false and fill-in-the-blank and essay type questions, but it is not as straightforward as Aiken.

1. Use a text editor (EG: Notepad on Windows or Word with plain text on Mac).

  1. Right click your mouse anywhere on your desktop, select New and then Text Document
  2. Name this .txt file
  3. Open the file

Note: If you already wrote your questions in a Word document, copy and paste them into this text file and reformat your questions following Step 2.

2. Write multiple-choice questions using the Aiken format. Refer to the screenshot below for visual representation to the format.

  1. The question must be all on one line (A question longer than one line will be truncated. You can edit it in Moodle Question bank to fix this once imported).
  2. Each answer choice must start with a single uppercase letter, followed by a period or bracket then a space.
  3. The answer line must immediately follow, starting with ANSWER: (all uppercase), then a space, and then follow with the appropriate uppercase letter.
  4. Do NOT use question numbers. Remove them if you already have them. Moodle will generate question numbers later.
  5. Leave a blank line (space) between questions.
  6. Leave no extra spaces at the beginning or end of the quiz.

Note: These formatting requirements are necessary for Moodle to recognize and accept your questions into the Question bank.

These formatting requirements are necessary for Moodle to recognize and accept your questions into the Question bank.

3. Save as a UTF-8 encoding .txt file

When you are finished formatting the exam, select File Save as. Name your file accordingly and select UTF-8 under Encoding. Save this to your Desktop.

Save as a UTF-8 encoding .txt file

Part II: Importing questions into Moodle Question bank

Once you have created and properly formatted your .txt file, you may import your questions into Moodle Quiz.

1. Add a Category in the Question Bank

1. Log in to Moodle with your netname and password. You can also access Moodle by logging in to the Student Hub and going to My CU Account.

2. Find your specific course in the MY CONCORDIA COURSES menu bar, and click it.

3. On your course main page, select the Actions menu gear on the left-hand side, a drop-down list will open. From the Action menu drop-down list, select More. The Course administration page will open. 

Opening course administration page
4. On the Course administration page, click on Question bank
Click on question bank

5. Click on Categories in the top navigation line. In the Name field, enter the title of your quiz, then click Add category at the bottom.

Click categories, set the name of your quiz in the name field, click add category
new category "final exam" is not visible

Your new category will appear on the Edit categories page.

2. Import Questions to the New Category

1. Click on Import in the top navigation line. Click on the arrow beside General to expand this section. In the Import category list, choose the title of your quiz category.


Click import, select general, name the quiz category in import category field

2. In the Import questions from file section, select the Aiken checkbox. Drag and drop the .txt file containing your questions into the dotted box or click Choose a file to upload the file by browsing. When the file is selected, click Import.


Select Aiken checkbox, select and import a .txt file from your computer with your questions

3. If your upload was successful, you will be able to select Continue

If your upload was successful, you will be able to select Continue

Note: If there is an error, you will get a message indicating all the questions that are not correctly formatted. You will need to go back to your text file and correct the formatting and re-do step #6.

4. Once complete, you will see all your questions displayed. Clicking on the Edit list next to a question, then click on Edit question from the list. This will bring you to the question editing page. Here you can edit your question text, answer choices, correct answer(s) and marks assigned for each answer choice, etc.

Under questions tab, select the category and edit the question in the list

Warning: Imported questions always have “Shuffle the choices” on. If you have questions with answers like “both a and b” or “all/none of the above”, make sure you go to the question editing page for each of these questions and uncheck Shuffle the choices one by one.

Note: that the Aiken format only supports multiple-choice questions with one correct answer.

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