Aiken format

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About Aiken format

The Aiken format is a very simple way of creating multiple choice questions using a clear human-readable format in a text file. (The GIFT format has many more options and perhaps is less prone to errors, but doesn't look as straightforward as AIKEN. ) The question must be all on one line. Each answer must start with a single uppercase letter, followed by a period '.' or a bracket ')', then a space. The answer line must immediately follow, starting with "ANSWER: " (NOTE the space after the colon) and then giving the appropriate letter.


  • You have to save the file in a text format. Don't save it as a Word document or anything like that.
  • Non-ASCII characters like 'quotes' can cause import errors. To avoid this always save your text file in UTF-8 format (most text editors, even Word, will ask you).
  • The answer letters (A,B,C etc.) and the word "ANSWER" must be capitalised as shown below, otherwise the import will fail.

Here is an example of the format:

What is the correct answer to this question?
A. Is it this one?
B. Maybe this answer?
C. Possibly this one?
D. Must be this one!

Which LMS has the most quiz import formats?
A) Moodle
B) ATutor
C) Claroline
D) Blackboard
E) WebCT
F) Ilias

Both these examples imported into Moodle gave questions looking like:

Which LMS has the most quiz import formats? Choose one answer.

  • a. Blackboard
  • b. WebCT
  • c. ATutor
  • d. Moodle
  • e. Claroline
  • f. Ilias


When importing there are many options, but these do not influence Aiken Format import:

  • Get category from file [_]
  • Get context from file [_]
  • Match grades [Error if grade not listed/Nearest grade if not listed]
  • Stop on error [Yes/No]

Hints and Tips

  • Moodle XML Converter - more extensive version of AIKEN format. Supports almost all Moodle questions types - multichoice, shortanswer, cloze, essay, order, matching, numeric, truefalse

See also