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Importing quiz questions from Microsoft Word – a simple method

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For: StaffApplication: QMplus , QuizzesTagged: quiz

The process of setting up the questions for a quiz in QMplus can be quite labourious. There is a quick way of creating multiple choice and true/false questions from text contained in a file which can be created using any text editor, including Microsoft Word. Once the file has been created, the questions in it can be quickly uploaded to a question bank in a QMplus course area where they can then be added to a quiz in the usual way.

This import method is very limited and only works for multiple choice and true/false questions. It only imports the question text and the setting for the correct answer. All other settings, e.g. feedback text, have to be made through QMplus.This guide only covers creating the questions in the text file and uploading them to QMplus. It assumes that you know how to create a quiz and add questions to it.

 

Creating your questions using Microsoft Word

This method uses the Aiken format to import the questions from a text file. By following some simple rules, questions can be created in Microsoft Word, or a text editor, and imported straight into the question bank of a QMplus course area.

The example below demonstrates the structure required for a multiple choice question:

What is the purpose of first aid?
A. To save life, prevent further injury, preserve good health
B. To provide medical treatment to any injured or wounded person
C. To prevent further injury
D. To aid victims who may be seeking help
ANSWER: A

The rules are:

  • The question text must all be on one line (i.e. no line break in the text)
  • Each option (A, B, C, D) must be on one line and has to start with a CAPITAL LETTER followed by a full stop (.) followed by a SPACE and then the option text
  • The word, ANSWER must be in ALL CAPS followed by a colon (:) followed by a SPACE.

The formatting of the file is very fragile. A single mistake will either cause the import to fail or will have unexpected results e.g. forgetting to put the full stop after the option or forgetting to leave a space between the option and the option text. This can be particularly difficult if you are importing lots of questions as it can be difficult to trace exactly where the issues are coming from.

It is also possible to use A) instead of A. for the options. There must always be a space between the bracket and the option text.

Once you have created your questions in Microsoft Word, save a copy of your document in plain text format:

  • Go to File>Save As
  • From the dropdown menu select Plain Text.
If your text includes non-English characters such as the é in café you will have to save the file with the UTF8 character encoding. Open your file in a plain text editor such as Notepad and change the default settings of your document from ASCII to UTF8. Once you have done this click Save.

Importing your questions into the question bank

Import quiz questionIn your course area, select Settings>Course administration>Question bank>Import

Scroll to the File format section.

File format

Select Aiken format

Categories

In the General section, select the category that you wish to import your questions in to. If you haven’t created any categories in your question bank, you will only have the Default category here. In this example, I am going to import the questions into a category called A sub category.

In the Import a file section, click Choose a file and browse to find your file to upload (or drag and drop your file into the upload area).

Finally click the Import button at the bottom of the page.

Upload success

If all goes well, you should see a screen something like the above. Click on the Continue button and you will see your questions listed in the question bank. You can now go to your quiz and add your new questions to it.

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The errors you may encounter while importing your file are most likely to be related to the formatting of the file containing your questions. If you do get errors, you will have to check that your file conforms to the Aiken formatting rules.You can find more information about the Aiken Format on the Moodle Docs website.

Did this answer your query? If not, you can raise a ticket on the online Helpdesk or email: its-helpdesk@qmul.ac.uk . Alternatively you can also request a particular guide or highlight an error in this guide using our guides request tracker.

Produced by the the E-Learning Unit at Queen Mary University of London.
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