Importing a Question Bank into Moodle

Full Instructional PDF

Questions from a publisher or other test bank can be imported into Moodle to form a question bank. The process is not difficult, but incorrect formatting of the source document can be a problem. It is recommended to use Aiken format for quiz imports. The format must be uniformly without error for the import to work.


Step 1: Format the source document correctly.

This is an example of Aiken format:

What color is the sky?

  1. Blue
  2. Green
  3. Orange
  4. Yellow


The formatting rules are:

  • Any headers or footers must be removed from the document.
  • If questions are numbered, the numbering must be removed.
  • The question is typed continuously, with no paragraph returns in it. (It’s okay if a question wraps to subsequent lines automatically).
  • Answer choices must be a capital letter followed by a period or parenthesis, such as: A. or A) followed by one space.
  • The answer choices may begin with upper or lower case letters and may end with periods or not.
  • The word “ANSWER” must be in all caps. It must immediately follow the final answer choice.
  • “ANSWER” is followed by a colon and then a space.
  • The correct answer is upper case with no period after it.
  • Questions should be separated by one paragraph return.

Step 2: Save the document in the correct format.

The source document must be saved as a Plain text file with UTF-8 encoding.

To do this: In MS Word, choose Save as. Under Save as type, choose Plain text. Click Save.

Click Other encoding. Choose Unicode (UTF-8). Click OK.

Question bank image 1

Step 3: Import the questions into Moodle.

In your course, go to the Gear icon and choose More…

Scroll down. Under Question bank, choose Import.

Click Aiken and choose your file. Be sure to choose the text file, not the original Word file. Click Import.

You will see the import screen. Messages in colored boxes will tell you whether your import is successful. Click Continue.

If successful, you’ll now see your imported questions in the question bank. Any manually-created questions will appear there as well.


Step 4: If your import was unsuccessful, try the following:

Go back to the formatting rules in step 1 and check your text file again carefully.

Check for any instance where a capital letter is followed by a period, such as B.F. Skinner.

Click the Paragraph symbol in the Word toolbar to check that non-visible characters like spaces and paragraph returns are correct.

Question bank image 2

If you’re still unable to find the problem, contact the Instructional Design team for help.


Step 5: Organize your questions using Categories.

From the Question bank page, click the Categories tab. Under Add a category, fill in the name and click Add a category. You can then use the checkboxes on the Question bank page to choose the questions you want to move. At the bottom of the page, select the category from the dropdown menu and click Move to >>.

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