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After creating a quiz, you can start adding quiz questions. 

Select the Edit quiz button after saving your quiz activity settings, or navigate to Edit quiz under the Quiz administration menu.

Quiz without any questions.

You will now be able to add questions using the Add link.

Choose from:

  • + a new question: Create a brand new question
  • + from a question bank: Add an existing question from a selected question bank
  • + a random question: Select a question bank category from which a randomly selected question will be added to the quiz

Adding questions to a quiz.

Please see Question banks for more information on quiz categories.

Editing questions

After adding questions to a quiz and before any attempts have been made, you are able to preview, edit, move and delete each question as required.

  • Use the Preview icon (Preview icon)to review and test a question
  • Use the Edit icon (Edit icon) to change or update the content of the question
  • Use the Delete icon (Delete icon)to remove a question, provided it is not being used in another quiz activity
  • Use the Move to icon (Move icon) to reorder the questions in your quiz via drag and drop
  • Use the Remove page break icon (Remove page break icon) to merge questions into one page

Quiz question editing screen.

Question settings

There are a number of common settings that feature across all quiz questions.


Questions can be stored within question banks which are stored within a specified Category.

Please see Question Banks for more information.
Question textThe question being asked or the task provided to the learner.Questions can include videos, images or sound files as well as text.
Default markDefine how much the question is worth in the quiz.If the question is particularly important or there are many answers that are correct (such as in a Matching Question) consider increasing the value of the default mark.
General feedback

General feedback is shown to all learners after they have  completed the question, regardless of how they answered.

Choose when General feedback is shown in the Review options of the quiz settings.
Shuffle choices/answers

If there are several answer options in a quiz, and the quiz is set to allow learners to take the quiz more than once, the question answers or choices can be rearranged on each attempt to ensure the learner focuses on the content and doesn’t simply ‘learn’ the position of the answer.

To ensure the answers shuffle correctly Shuffle within questions will also need to be enabled in the quiz activity settings.
Combined feedbackFor more detailed feedback, add feedback for correct, partially correct or incorrect answers. Feedback can be provided through media files like videos, sound files or images too.

How learners see the feedback is dependent on which question behaviour has been set for the quiz.

Multiple tries

Where a quiz has been set to allow learners multiple attempts at a quiz question, hints and score penalties can be set for a question.


TagsAdd standard or user defined tags to categorise a quiz question and to enable tag based searches.Please see Tags for more information.

Question types

The quiz activity offers a range of different question types including:

Link to Quiz Question types interactive video on Totara Academy.

Please see the Interactive Video on Quiz Question types within the Totara Academy.

Multiple Choice 

In a multiple choice question, learners are asked to identify the correct answer from a selection of possible options. Multi-choice questions can be configured with one or many correct answers, with a (positive or negative) score defined for each possible answer.

Multiple choice question setup.

For questions with more than one correct answer, divide the full mark (100%) between each right answer.

True/False Question

To create a true or false question, enter the question text and state whether the question is true or false.


A matching question asks learners to match multiple responses and multiple questions or statements.

While additional incorrect answers can be added to increase the difficulty of the question, a correct answer is required for each question.

Example Matching Question.

Short answer

Short answer questions require a short response (no more than a few words) that need to match at least one model answer.

An asterisk ' * ' can be used as a wildcard value to match any characters given in a response.


Add a numerical question to pose a mathematical question that requires a specific numerical response and set an error tolerance higher and/or lower than the answer.  Quiz creators can add a number of correct answers offering different levels of accuracy and a corresponding score for each.

If units are required as part of an answer a penalty can be applied to a learner's score for not selecting the correct unit.

Learners can include the units in the free text field when entering the number or create a multiple choice selection of units for the learner to choose from which will display as radio buttons or a dropdown menu.


Essay questions pose a question which learners must answer with free text or by uploading a document, which is then graded manually by the appropriate person.  Essay questions are generally used when the learner is required to provide a longer, more critically considered response.


Calculated questions are used to create mathematical questions which provide random values within a set formula, through the use of wildcards (e.g. {x} , {y} ).

This randomisation allows each learner to have a individualised calculated quiz question during an attempt.

For example, a question may be 'Calculate the area of a square where it's width = {width} and the height = {height}'.  When displayed to the learner, {width} and {height} would be replaced with randomly selected numerical values - e.g 'Calculate the area of a square where it's width = 3cm and the height = 3cm'.

The quiz creator can also specify the units required for the answers (e.g cm).

Calculated question type.


A quiz creator can set the acceptable tolerance for error within the learner's response and the type of tolerance allowed.  The specified tolerance value and the tolerance type selected combines to generate a range of acceptable scores.

If tolerance = t, correct answer = x and the difference between the user's answer and the correct answer is cx, then the tolerance types are as follows: 

  • Nominal: Mark correct if cx <= t 
  • Relative: Mark correct if cx / x <= t 
  • Geometric: Mark correct if cx² / x² <= t²

Answer formula syntax

  • There is no need to use an equal symbol in the formula
  • As a general rule, enter formulas as you would on a calculator e.g. 3 + 5 * sin(3/{x}.  Exponentiation should be entered as pow({x}, y)
  • Any special mathematical function must have parentheses around its values
  • Use the an asterisk ' * ' for multiplication


Wildcards are placeholders for the numbers, values and/or measurements used in a calculated question formula.

Wildcards (such as {width} and {height} from the above example) can be saved within a wildcard bank within a quiz category and reused across quizzes and quiz questions. 

After adding a wildcard to a calculated question and saving, select the wildcard datasets available for this question.

Wildcard datasets defines the range of numerical values available for each wildcard, specifies the number of different datasets (values) available for random selection, and determines the wildcard values for each of the datasets available.

Wildcard datasets.

Calculated multichoice

Calculated multichoice questions operate much like the Multiple choice question type however the choices available are generated from a given formula, using wildcards and datasets.

For example, a question may be: 'Calculate the area of a square where it's width = {width} and the height = {height}.

The correct answer would be: 'The square's area is {={width}*{height}} cm2' 

An incorrect answer could be: ' The square's area is {={width}+{height}} cm2' 

The correct answer choice would display with the calculated answer, based on the values the system automatically generates.

Calculated simple

This question type provides a simpler version of the Calculated question type where numerical values are randomly from a specified dataset during a quiz attempt.

Drag and drop into text

Drag and drop into text questions require learners to select and move text into a certain order to complete a sentence or excerpt of text.  When building a drag and drop into text question, use double square brackets to indicate the blank areas. Add the correct word for each blank area in the choices area.

Use the Number option to select the number of times the marker can be used.

Use the Dropzones section to select the shape for the selectable areas - choose from circle, polygon or rectangle.

Example drag and drop into text question.

Drag and drop text question answers.

Additional choice options can be added to increase the difficulty of drag and drop onto text questions.

Example of drag and drop onto text question.

Drag and drop markers

Drag and drop marker questions require learners to match marker text onto a background image via drag and drop.

Upload a Background image using the file upload and add the words that will represent the Markers for your image.  Add extra, non-applicable markers to increase the difficulty of the question.

Use the Number field to define how many times the Marker can be used.  If Unlimited is selected, markers may be used more than once.

Quiz markers.

After uploading the background image, you will be able to see grid lines and X and Y coordinates for areas on your image on mouse over. Each grid is ten pixels.

Enter the X and Y coordinates of the correct location on the background image, followed by a semicolon, followed by the width and the height of the box. e.g. 30,115;100,100

These four coordinates represent:

  • The top left corner or area of the selected dropzone
  • The bottom right corner or area of the selected dropzone
  • The width of the selected dropzone (number of boxes across)
  • The height of the selected dropzone (number of boxes up)

More than one Marker may be placed in a single dropzone.

Example drag and drop with markers question.

Drag and drop marker question setup.

After entering a valid drop zone, use the Save changes and continue editing option to check your dropzone coordinates.  You can now dynamically adjust your dropzones as required.

Multiple tries

Optionally set a score penalty for each incorrect try.  Incorrect tries include the use of extra markers as well as markers placed in incorrect dropzones.

If a drag and drop markers question is used in a quiz set to use the Interactive with multiple tries question behaviour, marking is modified as follows when a penalty has been applied:

  • The mark is reduced for each try by the penalty factor.
  • Allowance is made for when a correct choice is first chosen providing it remains chosen in subsequent tries.

Three additional marking and multiple tries options are available (depending on the quiz question behaviour):

  • Show the number of correct responses: Include in the quiz question feedback a statement of how many choices are correct.
  • State which markers are incorrectly placed: Include in the feedback a list of markers which are incorrectly placed.
  • Move incorrectly placed markers back to default start position below image: When Try again is clicked incorrectly positioned labels are removed.

Marker questions are also keyboard accessible. Use the Tab key to move between the markers and the Arrow keys to position markers.

Drag and drop onto image

The drag and drop onto an image question type behaves much like the drag and drop markers question, but allows both images and text to be added to a background image.

After uploading a background image, define the Draggable items as either a Draggable Image (and upload an image) or Draggable Text (and enter in a text value).

After adding the items, drag and drop the images and text onto the background image to automatically update the coordinates of the Drop zones.

Image-based draggable item for drag and drop onto image quiz question type.

Text-based draggable item for drag and drop onto image quiz question type.

Embedded answer (Cloze)

Embedded Cloze questions are used to combine different question types into one question (such as multiple choice, missing words, short answer, numerical etc).

Questions are added using specific code or question text formats. The below Totara Academy resource provides a list of the text formats for each question type.

Embedded Cloze question type text formats.

An example of a multiple choice question:

Example multichoice question in Cloze format.

If the correct answer within an Embedded question contains the symbols  } # ~ / " or \ you will have to remove or escape them from the Cloze code by entering a \ in front of each character.

The { shouldn't be escaped as this can be vital in getting TeX expressions to work.

In the feedback ~ and } must be escaped otherwise they will be interpreted as the next answer or end of the short answer section respectively.

Quotation signs should be avoided.  Instead use the HTML entity: & quot; (without the space between & and quot;).

When using mathematical symbols the \ used in TeX expressions can be problematic.  Unicode characters can be used to avoid any issues.

  • Export questions in GIFT or Totara XML formats to import them into a Lesson activity.
  • Copy and paste text from a PDF or text file into the question content area. This strips out additional formatting and any hidden code which other editing programs can insert.

Random short-answer matching

The random short answer question is similar to the matching question type and is built using any short answer questions that have already been set up in the system.  Learners will be provide learners with a dropdown menu from which to choose the correct (model) answers.

Example random short answer matching quiz question.

Choose the category which contains the previously saved short answer questions. Use the Number of questions to select option to specify the number of questions that will be randomly selected from the category.

If your previous short answer questions were diverse use some simple instructive text such as ‘Answer the following questions.’

Select missing words 

Missing word questions are similar to drag and drop text questions where learners are required to choose the missing words from a drop down selection.

Select missing words question.

To build the question follow these steps:

  1. Enter the question text, with blank spaces signified by square brackets and a Group number. Groups represent the possible answers for each question.
  2. Under the Choices section of the question settings, add the answers with the correct answers listed first for each Group
  3. Add other incorrect options under the correct responses and assign to the relevant Group.
  4. Click Save changes

Please note that you may experience issues if trying to use multilang tags alongside another tag, such as those required for the select missing words question type. A limit of 255 characters may apply in some areas when inputting content using multilang tags.

Example missing words quiz question - markup.

Adding choices to select missing words quiz question.


The Description question type allows you to show some text (and possibly graphics) without requiring an answer. It behaves as a label rather than a question type and may act as an introduction to a new section or may contain a resource (such as a video) that will be the basis for further questions.

Please see Example Question Types for examples of how these questions can be used and how they display within a quiz.

Importing quiz questions

To import quiz questions from another Totara Learn installation or from another course within your site, go to Course administration > Question bank > Import in the course in which the quiz currently sits.

Complete the import settings and select the Import button.

A summary of any errors and the questions imported will be displayed.  Use the Continue button to return to the question category.

Import settings 

File format

Select the format of the file you wish to import. Choose from:

  • Aiken format: This is a simple text format for importing multiple choice questions.
  • Blackboard: Enables questions saved in all Blackboard export formats to be imported via a .dat or ZIP file. For ZIP files, images import is supported.
  • Embedded answers (Cloze): Enables the import of multi-type questions.
  • Examview: Enables the import of questions from Examview 4 XML files. For newer versions of Examview, Blackboard format may be used.
  • Gift format: Enables the import of multiple-choice, true-false, short answer, matching, missing word, numerical and essay questions via text file.
  • Missing word format: Enables questions to be imported via text file.
  • Totara XML format: This is a Totara-specific format for importing and exporting questions.
  • WebCT format: Enables multiple-choice and short answer questions saved in WebCT's text-based format to be imported.
 Use the dropdown list to select into which quiz category to import the questions.-
Additional import options

To import additional information with the selected questions, select from:


If any imported grades do not match the fixed list of valid grades, select from:

  • Error if grade not listed: If a question contains any grades not found in the list an error is displayed and the question will not be imported
  • Nearest grade if not listed: If a grade is found that does not match a value in the list, the grade is changed to the closest matching value in the list
Valid grades are: 100, 90, 80, 75, 70, 66.666, 60, 50, 40, 33.333, 30, 25, 20, 16.666, 14.2857, 12.5, 11.111, 10, 5, 0, and negative values of these grades.
Stop on errorDetermines whether the import process stops should an error be detected, resulting in no questions being imported, or whether any questions containing errors are ignored and all valid questions imported.-
Import questions from fileUse the file selector or drag and drop to upload the required file.-

Exporting quiz questions

To export quiz questions go to Course administration > Question bank > Export in the course in which the quiz currently sits.

Complete the export settings and select Export questions to file button.

Use the Continue button to return to the question category. 

Export settings 

File format

Select the export format of the file. Choose from:

  • Gift format: Gift format enables multiple choice, true/false, short answer, matching, missing word, numerical and essay questions to be imported or exported via text file
  • Totara XML format: This is a Totara-specific format for importing and exporting questions
  • XHTML format: XHTML format enables all questions in the category to be exported to a single page of strict XHTML for possible use in another application
 From the dropdown list choose from which quiz category to export the questions.Please see Question banks for more information on quiz categories.
Additional export options

To export additional information with the selected questions, select from:

Export quiz questions to share with other quiz creators or reuse content across Totara Learn sites.

Totara Academy


The Totara Academy has two courses dedicated to using Quizzes in Totara Learn - Getting Started with Quizzes and Advanced Quiz.

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