In Focus: Moodle Quiz (5) – Building a quiz

Building a quiz

Having created questions and added – and configured – a quiz activity, the next logical action is to add questions to your quiz.

Edit quiz

For want of a better name, I’ll refer to the place where questions are added to your quiz as the “quiz building page”.

There are two ways of accessing the “quiz-building” page, both from initially clicking on the Quiz activity on the Moodle course page. If there are no questions already in the quiz then the Edit quiz button will be available (A, below), otherwise there’s the Edit quiz option in the drop-down menu (B, below) from clicking on the ‘gear’ icon:

Moodle screenshot showing how to access the quiz building page.

Add …

Moodle screenshot of the quiz building screen: revealing the options behind the 'Add' button: 'a new question', 'from question bank' and 'a random question'.

Once on the Quiz building page, click on the Add button and select from the three options:

+a new question

My recommended workflow when considering a Quiz activity for a Moodle course would be to create your questions first in the ‘Question bank’ before you even create the Quiz activity, but with the add ‘+a new question’ option, it is possible to create a new question (selecting the appropriate question type etc) during the ‘quiz building’ process.

+from question bank

This will allow you to select one or more questions from the question bank to include in your quiz.

First select the category (1, below) from which you wish to select your questions, then select the question(s) by ticking the checkbox/es next to each question (2, below) and then finally click Add selected questions to the quiz (3, below) to confirm:

Moodle screenshot  showing the 'Add a question from the question bank; screen.

+a random question

You can request Moodle select a random question/questions for inclusion in your quiz – each time the quiz is attempted, Moodle will draw questions at random from the quiz.

First select the category (1, below) from which you wish to select random questions, then select how many random questions you’d like the system to pick from this category to add to your quiz (2, below) and then click Add random question (3, below) to confirm:

Moodle screenshot  showing the 'Add a random question from the question bank; screen.

Random questions can be particularly useful for formative assessments when you want to test a student’s understanding and want to allow students to retake the quiz; each time a student attempts the quiz, the random questions will be selected from the category/ies as defined so the student isn’t being tested on their ability to recall the right answer from feedback for a previous attempt but is being tested on the topic itself.

Page breaks

Page breaks can be a useful way of structuring your quiz; for example, consider perhaps dividing up your questions over pages so that questions are grouped by topics. However you decide to split up your quiz, it certainly feels less overwhelming to students if the questions are not all displayed on one page.

Page breaks (between questions) are initially automatically inserted dependent on the setting for ‘New page’ within the ‘Layout’ section of the Quiz settings:

The default value is Every question but this isn’t perhaps the best choice particularly if a quiz has a lot of questions as it will require loading a new page for each question. If you’re not sure what to set this to, I’d recommend setting it to Never, all questions on one page as in the screenshot above; you can then insert page breaks appropriately as you’re building the quiz.

On the quiz building page, you can insert (A, below) and remove (B, below) as required:

Moodle screenshot highlighting how to add and remove page breaks in a Moodle Quiz.


In most cases, you’ll want the quiz to be structured in a specific – and logical – way but if this isn’t essential (such as in cases of formative assessment) then you may wish for the questions to be sorted randomly for each attempt. To do this, simply select the Shuffle checkbox at the top-right of the quiz building page:

Moodle screenshot  showing the Shuffle option from the question bank; screen.

Maximum grade

A ‘Maximum grade’ field is available on the right-hand side of the quiz building page’, the default value is 10:

Moodle screenshot of the quiz building page, highlighting the 'Maximum grade' field.

It perhaps makes sense to update this to reflect the total marks available in the quiz once you’ve completed adding your questions … but it doesn’t really matter: a percentage mark is automatically calculated and made available to the students (unless you’ve chosen not to publish this) and the total grade is “scaled” up or down to fit within the ‘Maximum grade’.

Using the screenshot above, the ‘Total’ is out of 3 but the ‘Maximum grade’ is 10: one correct answer would result in a Quiz grade overall of 3.33, two correct answers: 6.66, and all three correct would result in a Quiz grade of 10.

NB: If you do decide to update the ‘Maximum grade’ value, remember to click on the Save button next to it to confirm the change.

Quiz settings

Whilst not entirely related to building a quiz, there is a way that you can control how a student navigates through the quiz.

Moodle screenshot of the Quiz settings page showing 'Navigation method'

Hidden behind the ‘Show more…’ button within the ‘Layout’ section of the ‘Quiz settings’ page, the ‘Navigation method’ is, by default, set to Free; during a Quiz attempt, a student can skip questions and move to the next page of questions, return to previous pages to answer those skipped questions before submitting.

If, however, you wanted to student to complete the quiz in a linear fashion whereby once they have moved to the next page of questions, a student is unable to revisit previous pages of questions, then the option Sequential would be more appropriate.

And finally … don’t forget to ‘Preview’ your Quiz

Before allowing your students to attempt the quiz. it’s important to Preview the quiz to ensure it’s presented as you intended.

NB. Previewing a quiz is important as once a student has attempted the quiz, it is no longer possible to alter the Quiz structure.

To preview the quiz, click on the Quiz activity on the course page, and either click on the Preview quiz now button (A, below) or select Preview via the ‘gear’ icon (B, below):

Moodle screenshot  showing the Preview options for a Quiz activity

One thought on “In Focus: Moodle Quiz (5) – Building a quiz

  1. Pingback: In Focus: Moodle Quiz (1) – “Why use a Quiz?” – DMeLD Digest

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