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The quiz activity provides trainers and course managers the ability to create quizzes using a variety of Question types, including multiple choice, true-false, short answer, visual and mathematical questions.

Each question created for a quiz is stored within a Question bank, allowing it to be re-used across other quizzes.  Quizzes can also be made up of a set number of randomly selected questions from a specific question bank.

Quizzes are highly configurable and include features such as:

  • Automatic grading for quizzes - with the ability for trainers to manually override grades if required.
  • The ability to specify how many attempts a learner may have at successfully completing the quiz.
  • A range of scoring and grading options.
  • An HTML editor for each question, allowing a trainer to insert formatting, images and/or video. 
  • The option to import or export questions in bulk in a variety of file formats.
  • An array of feedback and review options for both learner and trainer.

Managing a quiz

Building a quiz is a two-stage process.  After creating a quiz activity an administrator, course manager or editing trainer can then add questions to the quiz.

Creating a quiz

  1. Within a course, Turn editing on.
  2. Select Add an activity or resource within the required course section
  3. Choose Quiz and select Add.
  4. Enter a quiz Name.
  5. Customise the available Quiz Settings as required.
  6. Click Save and display to begin creating questions or Save and return to course.

Editing a quiz

  1. Click Turn editing on.
  2. Click the corresponding Edit link for the required quiz activity and select Edit settings.
  3. Update the available Quiz Settings as required.
  4. Click Save and display to add or edit questions or Preview the quiz, or select Save and return to course.

(The video above is taken from the Getting started with quizzes course in the Totara Academy).

Quiz settings 

Each quiz activity offers a range of configuration options around display, behaviour and access to learners.  These are grouped into:


 General settings include basic information such as the quiz name and description.


The quiz Name is displayed on the course home page and within the course navigation block so should be short but descriptive enough for learners to understand the purpose of the activity.


A quiz Description is shown to users after opening the quiz but before beginning a quiz attempt.

The Description area should offer learners an overview of the quiz, set expectations around attempts and scores and provide instructions on completing the activity.
Display description on course page

If enabled, the Description provided above will be displayed on the course page just below the link to the quiz activity.

This option is best used where the description is no longer than a single paragraph.


The Timing settings allow a quiz creator to control when learners can access a quiz and how long they have to complete their attempt(s).

Open the quiz

Once enabled a quiz can be set to only be available to learners after a set date and time. Before a quiz opens, users will be able to view the quiz Description but will not be able to make any attempts.

A quiz can be made available at different times for different groups or users in the Group or User override sections of the Quiz Administration block.

Close the quiz

Once enabled, access to a quiz can be configured to automatically end after a set date and time.  After a quiz closes, learners will be able to view the quiz Description, but will not be able to make any further attempts.

Should a quiz close while a learner is completing a quiz, their attempt will automatically end.

Learners who submit their quiz attempt after the quiz has closed will have their responses saved but the attempt will not be automatically marked.

Time limit

A time limit for the completion of a quiz may be set once this option is enabled.  The behaviour of the quiz if a learner exceeds the time limit during an attempt is set under the When time expires setting.

A Time limit is stated on the initial quiz page and during an attempt a countdown timer is displayed in the quiz navigation block.
When time expires

This setting controls the behaviour of the quiz when a logged out learner fails to submit their current quiz attempt after the Time limit has passed.

Choose from:

  • Open attempts are submitted automatically.
  • There is a grace period when open attempts can be submitted, but no more questions answered.
  • Attempts must be submitted before time expires, or they are not counted.
If the learner is actively working on the quiz at the time, the system will automatically submit the attempt.
Submission grace period

Where the When time expires option has been set to allow a grace period for users to submit an attempt, this option specifies the amount of extra time the learner is allowed.


Timing options within quiz settings


As quizzes are usually graded automatically, quiz creators can specify within Grade settings how learner scores are calculated and stored within the system.

Grade category

This setting controls the category under which this quiz activity's grades will be placed within the course gradebook.

Please see Grade categories for more information.
Grade to pass

This setting determines the minimum grade required a learner must obtain to pass this quiz. The value is used in activity and course completion settings, and within the gradebook.

Please see Activity Completion, Course Completion and Course Grading for more information.

Attempts allowed

Specify how many attempts a learner may have at completing the quiz.  This option may be set from 1 to 10 or allow  Unlimited attempts.

A learner may wish to continue submitting attempts after achieving a passing grade in order to improve their grade.

If the quiz is utilising random questions, the learner will receive a new version of the quiz on each attempt.

You can change the allowed number of attempts for different groups or specific users in the Group or User override sections of the Quiz Administration block.

Grading method

Where multiple quiz attempts are allowed, there are a number of methods the quiz can use to calculate the learner's final grade for the quiz. 

Choose from:

  • Highest grade: The highest score or grade across all attempts.
  • Average grade: The average grade of all attempts.  The average is calculated via a simple mean.
  • First attempt: The score or grade earned on the learner's first attempt at the quiz.
  • Last attempt: The grade earned on the learner's most recent attempt only.
Where the grading method is set to First attempt, a learner may submit other attempts, however the grade outcome of these attempts will be ignored by the course gradebook.

Grade settings with quiz editing


Layout settings determine the page and navigation layout for quizzes.

New page

Choose how many questions should be displayed on each page of the quiz.  Consider the length of the quiz as well as the questions themselves.

Select from:

  • Never, all questions on one page
  • Every question
  • Every 2-50 questions

To update the page breaks in an existing quiz, select the Repaginate now option.

Page breaks can also be manually inserted or edited via the Edit Quiz area.

Navigation method

Choose whether learners must progress through a quiz sequentially or are free to move between pages as desired.


Layout and question behaviour quiz settings

Question behaviour

The quiz tool offers an array of different question types and behaviours, allowing quiz creators to build different quiz types for different assessment purposes.

Shuffle within questions

Questions which are made up of multiple parts or answers (such as multiple choice or matching questions) can optionally have their contents randomly shuffled each time a learner attempts the quiz.

Shuffle questions must also be enabled in the individual question settings.

Please see Examples of questions types for more information.

How questions behave

This setting determines how you want learners to interacts with the questions within the quiz.  Consider whether you want learners to be able to submit each answer individually or all answers together at the end of the quiz.  Consider also whether you want to provide learners with the option to revise their answers after submitting an incorrect response.

Choose from:

  • Adaptive mode: Allows learners multiple attempts at answering each question.  If an incorrect answer is provided, the question can be set to offer predefined feedback or provide hints towards the correct answer, although a configurable penalty is applied to the learner's quiz score/grade.

  • Adaptive mode (no penalties): Like Adaptive mode however an incorrect response does not affect a learner's quiz grade.

  • Deferred feedback: Learners must enter an answer for each question and submit the entire quiz to complete their attempt.  Following the submission of the quiz attempt, they will be able to view their grades and/or any feedback for each question.

  • Deferred feedback with certainty-based marking (CBM): Like Deferred feedback however a learner enters a value against their response to represent their level of certainty in the correctness of their answer.  This value acts as a multiplier for their grade, awarding learners for confidence in their knowledge.

  • Immediate feedback: Allows the learner to submit one response to each question during the quiz attempt and immediately receive a score.

  • Immediate feedback with certainty-based marking (CBM): Like Immediate feedback however a learner enters a value against each response to represent their level of certainty in the correctness of their answer.  This value acts as a multiplier for their grade, awarding learners for confidence in their knowledge. Likewise, learners can reduce their score by providing a high level of certainty and an incorrect answer.

  • Interactive mode with multiple tries: Allows the learner to submit an answer for each question and receive immediate feedback on their response.  If the answer is incorrect, they can opt to submit a new response.  A limit on the number of attempts a learner can submit for a question is set per question.

  • Manually graded: Any Essay questions within a quiz must be manually graded however you can also choose to manually grade any/all questions in the quiz via the Grades area.

The question behaviours available may be set by a site administrator via the Site Administration menu within Plugins > Question behaviours > Manage question behaviours.

The Manually graded question behaviour is disabled by default.

Allow redo within an attempt

This setting is only available when the quiz question behaviour is set to an option which allows a learner to submit a response to an individual question before the quiz attempt is submitted.

If enabled, learners will be provided with a Redo question button after submitting an incorrect response to a question.  This option will allow them another attempt at the question without having to submit the entire quiz attempt.

The redo option is useful for quizzes that are designed for practice type quizzes rather than an assessment piece.
Each attempt builds on the last

Where multiple attempts have been allowed within the Grade settings, this option will allow a learner to view their previous responses and results from their previous attempt. Both correct responses and incorrect responses will be available for review.

If the quiz is utilising random questions, the questions are only randomised when the quiz is initially generated. If this setting is enabled then the same questions will be presented for subsequent attempts.

Review options

Review options control what information learners will be shown during and after their quiz attempt(s).

Review optionDescriptionNotes
During the attempt

Learners will be able to review the selected information during each of their quiz attempts.

A Check button will appear below the learner's question response allowing them to submit their answer and receive immediate feedback.

This option is only available when How questions behave has been set to Immediate feedback, Immediate feedback with CBM or Interactive with multiple tries.

Immediately after the attemptLearners will be able to review the selected information for two minutes after they submit their quiz attempt.-
Later, while the quiz is still open

Learners will be able to review the selected information two minutes after they have submitted their quiz attempt.

If the quiz does not have an end date, the learner will be able to review this information until their access to the course or activity is removed.
After the quiz is closedThis option allows the display of quiz information only after the close date of a quiz.If the quiz does not have an end date, the learner will not be able to review this information.

Review options in quiz settings

The various pieces of review information that can be viewed are:

Review InformationDescriptionNotes
The attemptSelecting this item will allow a learner to review how they responded to all questions within their attempt.
This option will always be selected during a learner's attempt.
Whether correctSelecting this item will allow a learner to review whether their response to each question is correct, incorrect or partially correct.This option can only be selected when the quiz is set to a Question behaviour that allows instant feedback.
MarksReveals the score awarded to the learner for each question as well as their total quiz grade.This option can only be selected when the quiz is set to a Question behaviour that allows instant feedback.
Specific feedback

Will show any feedback the quiz creator linked to a particular question response.

When adding quiz questions, the quiz creator can also add feedback for all correct and all incorrect answers.

General feedbackDisplays any general feedback provided by the quiz creator for the entire question.
Right answerReveals the correct answer for each question, irrespective of whether the learner answered correctly, partially correctly or incorrectly.-
Overall feedback

Will display feedback based on the learner's total quiz grade for the current attempt.

Overall feedback is entered within the Quiz settings area.


Appearance settings include a range of grade and user navigation options.

Show the user's picture

If set to Small image or Large image, the learner's name and profile picture will be displayed during each quiz attempt and on the attempt review screen.

This is typically used within a live testing environment to mitigate cheating.
Decimal places in grades

This option determines how many digits will be shown after the decimal point when a quiz grade is displayed.  For example:

  • A setting of 0 will display the grade as whole number (positive or negative).
  • A setting of 2 will display the grade as x.yz - e.g. 80.55
This setting is only used for the display of grades, not for the display or marking of answers.
Decimal places in question grades

This setting determines how many digits will be shown after the decimal point when the grades for individual question are displayed.  This may be set to the same value as the Decimal places in grades option.

Show blocks during quiz attemptsSpecify whether the Blocks shown within the course page are also displayed during a learner's quiz attempt.As Blocks can offer both a distraction and potentially help with the quiz questions, this setting is disabled by default.

Appearance options within quiz settings

Extra restrictions on attempts

A range of controls, outside activity restrictions, can be applied to the access and attempts of a quiz.

Require password

The ability to attempt a quiz may be controlled via password access.

Require network address

You can restrict access to a quiz via particular subnets by specifying a comma-separated list of partial or full IP address numbers.  IP addresses can be provided as:

  • Full IP addresses: e.g.
  • Partial addresses: e.g 192.168 which will match anything starting with those numbers.
  • CIDR notation: e.g which allows you to specify subnets.
This option can be useful if you need to ensure that only learners in a certain location are able to access the quiz.
Enforced delay between 1st and 2nd attempts

Once enabled, you can set a period of time a learner must wait between their first and second attempt at a quiz.

The number of attempts a learner is allowed is set within the quiz Grade settings.

Enforced delay between later attempts

Once enabled, you can set a period of time a learner must wait between their third and any subsequent attempts at a quiz (where more than two attempts are allowed).

Preventing learners from re-attempting a quiz straight away is designed to encourage users to revise the learning material in the hopes of improving their score.
Browser security

Choose whether to enforce additional security around a learner's access to the course or other sites via new browser windows.

If Full screen pop-up with some JavaScript security is selected:

  • The quiz will only start if the learner has a JavaScript-enabled web browser.
  • The quiz appears in a full screen popup window that covers all the other windows and offers no navigation controls.
  • Learners are prevented, where possible, from using facilities like copy and paste.

Overall feedback

Overall feedback is information that can be shown to learners following a quiz attempt, with the content based on the grade obtained for that attempt. 

Feedback is created for different grade boundaries or ranges, entered as a percentage or number.

Use the Add 3 more feedback fields button to create additional grade boundaries and associated feedback.


Quiz A requires a grade of 80% to pass. Overall Feedback has been created for users who achieved between 100-90%, 90-80% and 80-0%.

Example Overall Feedback in Quiz settings

Standard activity settings 

Please see Common module settings , Activity completion , Restrict access and Tags for more information on the standard Totara activity settings.

Quiz capabilities

The quiz module has highly granular capabilities, allowing administrators and course managers to customise the experience of trainers, editing trainers and learners across the site, within a certain course or even for a specific quiz.

For more information on creating and assigning access rights and overriding permissions please see Roles.

Attempt quizzesAllows a user to attempt the quiz and for a record of this attempt to be stored within the gradebook.Course managers can Preview a quiz to reproduce the attempt process.
Delete quiz attempts

Allows a user to delete both their own and other users’ quiz attempts.

The questions within a quiz cannot be modified in any way if there are attempts recorded against the quiz.  An administrator or course manager must delete all attempts before changing the quiz.
Get a confirmation message when submittingUsers will receive an onscreen confirmation message when they submit a quiz attempt.By default this capability is not assigned to any roles.
Get a notification message when an attempt is submittedUsers will receive a notification message within the system when a learner has submitted a quiz attempt.By default this capability is not assigned to any roles.
Get a notification message when an attempt becomes overdue and needs to be submittedUsers will receive a notification message if they have not completed a quiz with a specified close date.By default this capability is not assigned to any roles.
Grade quizzes manuallyAllows a user to edit the scores on a quiz and manually grade quiz essay questions within the course gradebook.Please see Grades for more information.
Ignores time limit on quizzesA user with this capability can take as long as they want to complete a quiz, even if a time limit has been set.

By default this capability is not assigned to any roles. 

This capability can be assigned to users who require additional time to read and complete quizzes.

Manage quizzesAllows a user to edit and delete quizzes including all questions within the quiz.-
Manage quiz overridesUsers with this capability can override the default capabilities and permissions for the quiz.-
Preview quizzesAllows a user to preview the quiz as part of the editing and testing process.Users completing a quiz in Preview mode will not have their results recorded as an attempt.
Regrade quiz attemptsUsers with this capability will be able to recalculate a user's (or all users) quiz grades for each of their attempts.Occasionally quiz responses and resulting grades may need to be adjusted, due to a change in the overall quiz grade or from an error or ambiguity in a question.
Review your own attemptsAllows a user to review the questions and their own responses to questions within a quiz.By default this capability is only assigned to learners.
View quiz informationAllows a user to view the quiz introduction or summary text but not attempt the quiz itself.This capability is often assigned to user with Guest access rights.
View quiz reportsProvides a user with access to reports detailing user responses and question/response statistics.-

Using quizzes

By leveraging the quiz activity alongside other functionality available within Totara Learn including Restrict Access, Activity Completion and Course Completion tracking, quizzes can be used in a variety of ways, beyond a simple assessment.  For example:

  • A quiz set at the beginning of a course as a pre-assessment activity, with users are directed to the most appropriate learning material based on their existing knowledge.
  • Used as a knowledge check mid-course with a passing grade providing access to the next level of training.
  • Set as a final assessment, with the completion of a quiz acting as course completion trigger.

The Totara Academy provides a number of examples of how quizzes can be used effectively within learning material.

If using the Interactive with multiple tries or Immediate Feedback behaviour and with the navigation method set to Free, it is possible to make the display of a question dependent on a previous question being answered first.

The question editing page will display padlock icons to the right of each question. If you want to make a question, for example Q2, conditional upon answering Q1, then click the padlock just above Q2. When a learner accesses the quiz, they will see a message that Q2 is not available until they give a response to Q1.

Consider creating a quiz activity and adjusting the default permissions (set Manage quizzes to Allow) so users with a Learner role can create questions for a quiz.  Not only can this be an engaging learning activity for the learners, but these questions can be reused in quizzes for the next round of learners completing the course.

Use the Review options and question feedback fields to guide learners to course content or external resources that will allow them to answer a question correctly or find out more on the subject.

Quizzes can be gamified with passwords offered for access to certain quizzes or the Overall Feedback being offered to high scoring attempts including links to 'secret' activities or fun external resources.

Quiz plugin settings

Site administrators can configure the default options for quiz settings via Plugins > Activity modules > Quiz under the Site Administration menu

The quiz plugin settings can also be used to hide specific quiz settings under the Show more... link when marked as an Advanced option.  This is useful for settings and options rarely used within an organisation, or are designed for advanced quiz users.

Quiz plugin settings

The quiz plugin settings also allow you to specify the number of blank Overall Feedback boxes provided by default within the quiz settings.  The setting must have a value of 1 or greater.  A quiz creator can add additional fields as required.

A learner's quiz question responses can be automatically saved during quiz attempts.  Responses are saved whenever a response is added or changed, and then again after this delay.  A value of 0 turns off auto-saving.

A shorter delay can increase the server load, but reduces the chance a learner's attempt will be lost.  When reducing the delay time, it is recommended this value is changed gradually while monitoring server load.

On this page


The Totara Academy has two courses, one dedicated to using Getting started with quizzes and another for Advanced quiz usage in Totara Learn. Here you can learn more on how to use quizzes, see best practice, and give it a go yourself.

Provide feedback about this page using the link in the bottom right of this page. 

Still have questions? Why not post them in the forums of the Totara Community?

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