Moodle: Take online quizzes and exams

If taking tests is stressful, taking one online can be even more so! This article explains how the Quiz activity in Moodle works and some best practices that instructors and students can adopt to ensure the smoothest experience. We’re going to use the word Quiz below since that is the term Moodle uses, but the content applies to any type of assessment (quiz, test, exam, etc.) created using this activity type.

Before you begin, you need:

  • Registered student or Auditor role in a Moodle course

Understand quiz settings

When you click on the link for a Quiz the first time, you will see the instructions your instructor has provided and information about quiz settings. Read this information carefully and plan ahead before opening the quiz!

  • Attempts allowed: Number of times you can take the quiz between the open and close dates. (In Moodle, an “attempt” is the same as “taking” a quiz; if "attempts allowed" is not listed, there is no limit on the number of retakes.)
  • This quiz will open on: Earliest date and time you take the quiz. (If not listed, you can take the quiz immediately.)
  • This quiz will close on: The deadline for COMPLETING your final quiz attempt; after this point, you will not be able to start a new attempt and any answers you add to the attempt in progress will be marked late. (If not listed, there is no deadline.)
  • Time limit: The amount of time Moodle gives you for each attempt. When you start the quiz, a timer will begin counting down from this limit; when it reaches zero, Moodle will end the attempt and submit the quiz. If no time limit is listed, the quiz does not have a Moodle-enforced time limit; however, you would still need to respect any time limits your instructor specified in the instructions.
  • Grading method: If the quiz allows multiple attempts, this setting tells you how the final grade will be determined: 
    • highest grade uses your best score out of all attempts
    • average grade calculates the mean score of all attempts
    • last grade uses the score from your final attempt
    • first grade uses the score from your first attempt.

Quiz interface

A. Question number box

This shows the point value of the question and whether an answer has been recorded yet. The Flag question option adds a marker that you and the Teachers in the course will see. You can use it to mark questions you want to review later in the attempt or to mark questions that you want to email your an instructor or TA about.  

B. Quiz navigation box

Each question in the quiz is represented by a numbered box — blank boxes are unanswered, gray-filled boxes are answered but ungraded, and questions on the current page have a darker border.

  • If the quiz settings allow you to jump around in the quiz, these boxes will function as links — click on a number to view the page with that question.
  • Click the Finish attempt … link to end the quiz now and submit your final answers.
  • For timed quizzes, a timer will count down the remaining time allotted for the quiz in h:mm:ss. When this timer reaches 0:00:00, the quiz will automatically be submitted. Note that this timer does not stop if you close the quiz window or navigate away from the quiz.

C. Question response area

This is where you will enter your answers. In some cases you will select answers by clicking or clicking-and-dragging options. For short answer and essay questions, you will need to type your responses in the boxes provided.

Your responses will not be recorded until you click the Next button to move on to a subsequent page. However, Moodle does autosave responses on an open page once a minute. If autosave fails — for example, because you’ve lost your Internet connection, Moodle will alert you and warn you to note down recent responses before trying to reconnect. Usually, as soon are you reconnect Moodle will autosave anything that wasn’t already saved, but you may need to re-enter information that no longer appears in the text box.

D. Page navigation buttons

Always use the page navigation buttons or the Quiz Navigation box to navigate through a quiz. DON’T use your web browser’s forward and back buttons — you may lose unrecorded answers that haven’t been autosaved.

  • Click the Next Page button at the bottom of each page to record answers for the questions on the current page and move on.
  • If the quiz settings allow it, you will see a Previous Page button, which you can use to move backward.
  • On the final page, click the Finish Attempt button to end the quiz attempt and submit your answers for scoring.

Dos and don’ts during a quiz

For best results:

  • Don’t open other windows or programs while taking the quiz, unless the action is required for the quiz.
  • Don’t click outside of the test window.
  • Do be careful when using a mouse with a scroll wheel: click in a blank area of the quiz screen before scrolling to avoid inadvertently changing question responses.
  • Don’t use your web browser forward and back buttons — use the Next Page and Previous Page buttons or the links in the Quiz Navigation box instead.
  • Don’t worry about losing your work. Moodle autosaves every minute, so even if you accidentally close the window or lose a connection, your answers won’t be lost. When you reopen the quiz, any uncompleted answers should still be there.
  • Do remember that Moodle records timestamped data about your activity in a course, and you and your instructors can see this data. See Moodle: View data collected about you

Finish a quiz

When you click the Finish Attempt button or link, Moodle will show you a Summary of attempt, listed whether an answer was saved, not answered, or incomplete for each question.

Check this summary carefully to be sure you’ve answered every question.

  • If there is still time remaining and the quiz hasn’t closed, click Return to Attempt to revisit, complete or change your answers.
  • Otherwise, click Submit all and finish.

Retake a quiz

If a quiz allows multiple attempts. when you view the quiz after taking it once, you will see a summary of each attempt, and the attempt that will be counted based on the grading setting selected by your instructor.

Click on Reattempt Quiz if you want to try again.

Review a graded/closed quiz

Depending on the quiz settings, you may be able to review answers, scores and feedback immediately after attempting the quiz or you may have to wait until the quiz has closed to view some or all of this information.

When you review a quiz attempt all of questions will be shown on a single page. The quiz navigation box will show a summary of right and wrong answers.

  • Green with white check mark — answered correctly.
  • Orange with white circle — partially correct.
  • Solid gray — still ungraded; typically essay or short answer questions that require manual grading.
  • Solid red — answered incorrectly.
  • Red triangles — indicate questions you flagged.

In the questions themselves correct answer choices will be green with a check mark next to them and incorrect answer choices will be red with an X next to them.


If you have any additional questions or problems, don't hesitate to reach out to the Help Desk!

Phone: 610-526-7440 | Library and Help Desk hours
Email: help@brynmawr.eduService catalog
Location: Canaday Library 1st floor