Quiz activity settings
  • 05 Jul 2023
  • 14 minutes to read

Quiz activity settings

Article Summary

Activity settings

Each quiz activity offers a range of configuration options around display, behaviour and access to learners.


 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 of 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 for when 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.



As quizzes are usually graded automatically, quiz creators can specify 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 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.


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 when adding quiz questions.

Navigation method

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


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 that 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 question 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: This 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: This 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 quick-access 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 that 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 a formal assessment.

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 attempt

Learners 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 closed

This 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.

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

Review informationDescriptionNotes

The attempt

Selecting 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 correct

Selecting 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.


Reveals 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 feedback

Displays any general feedback provided by the quiz creator for the entire question.


Right answer

Reveals 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 a 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 questions are displayed. This may be set to the same value as the Decimal places in grades option.


Show blocks during quiz attempts

Specify 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.

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. Find out more about configuring quiz feedback.

Grade boundaryBetween each set of feedback, there is a Grade boundary field. Enter a grade as a percentage value to determine which feedback the user receives. In the screenshot below you can see an example of overall feedback. In this example, the quiz requires a grade of 80% to pass. Overall feedback has been created for users who achieved between 100-90%, 90-80% and 80-0%.
FeedbackUse the text editor to add the feedback text, including any links or multimedia content.You can add more Feedback fields (and the associated grade boundaries) by clicking Add 3 more feedback fields.

An example of overall feedback in the quiz settings.

Standard activity settings 

Please see common module settings, activity completion, restricting access and tags for more information on the standard Totara activity settings.

Quiz plugin settings

Site Administrators can configure the default options for quiz settings via Quick-access menu > Plugins > Activity modules > Quiz.

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.

The majority of settings you find here can also be found when setting up a quiz activity, but there are a number of additional settings that can only be configured here.

Last submission grace periodUse this setting to account for server slowdown when quizzes are submitted when the timer runs out. Enabling this setting allows you to select a window of time in which learners can still submit their attempt after the timer runs out, allowing the learner to work right up to the last second and not worry about their submission not being registered in time.-
Use a 'secure' popup window for attemptsUse this setting to select if you want quiz attempts to be opened in a secure pop-up window that restricts copying and pasting, etc.-
Initial number of overall feedback fieldsUse this setting to set the default number of overall feedback fields when setting up a new quiz.This must be set to a minimum of one.
Outcomes are advanced settingsIf enabled then outcomes will be initially hidden in the quiz settings but can be shown by clicking Show more.-
Auto-save delay

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.

C025 - Quiz(1)There are two courses in the Totara Academy about using quizzes in Totara Learn, Getting started with quizzes and Advanced quiz Using these courses you can learn more on how to use these features, see best practice, and give it a go yourself.

© Copyright 2024 Totara Learning Solutions. All rights reserved. Some content originally obtained via GPLv3 license and continues to be available under GPLv3. All other content is the sole copyright of Totara Learning Solutions. 

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