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Importing MC and TF Questions from a Word document Using Aiken Format

Why Do This?

You can create or edit multiple choice and true/false quiz questions comfortably in a Word document, format the document, and then import directly into your course's Question Bank. You can always manually copy/paste the questions from Word into a new question directly in Cougar Courses, but if you have quite a few questions, it can be faster to use this method. For question types other than multiple choice and true/false, you can either import using Respondus, or create the questions directly in your quiz or Question Bank.


Importing multiple choice and true/false questions from a Word doc is a multi-part process that involves:

  1. Formatting the questions in your word document.
  2. Save your file as a text document.
  3. Import questions into your Question Bank.
  4. Verify questions are correct.
  5. Setting up the quiz in Cougar Courses.

Formatting the questions in your Word document

The questions must be formatted in a specific way in order to be imported.

  1. Remove any text outside of the questions and answers (this includes instructions, feedback, etc.)
  2. Do not number the questions.
  3. The question text cannot include images or tables.
  4. Each answer choice must start with a single uppercase letter, followed by a period "." or a right parenthesis ")", then a space. Answers cannot include images or tables.
  5. The answer line must immediately follow, starting with "ANSWER: " (with a space after the colon) and then give the letter for the correct answer. Note: The word "ANSWER" and the answer letters (A,B,C etc.) must be capitalized as shown.

For example:

What is the mascot of CSUSM?
A. Lion
B. Tiger
C. Panther
D. Cougar

Cal State San Marcos was founded in 1989.
A) True
B) False

Save your file as a text document

 You must save your file as plain text:

save as "plain text"

You could also copy and paste into Notepad (PC) or Text Edit (Mac) and save.

Import questions into your Question Bank

  1.  Login to Cougar Courses and go into the course where you want the questions.
  2. Click on the gear icon in the upper right to open the Course Administration and then click on Question Bank.
    Question Bank link in course administration
  3. Click on the Categories tab. Scroll to the bottom and add the category you want the questions to go into. See our help guide on adding Question Bank categories for more detailed information.
  4. Click on the Import tab.
    Import tab
  5. Choose the Aiken format.
    choose Aiken format
  6. Choose the category you created in Step 3.
    choose import category from dropdown
  7. Drag and drop your plain text file from your computer into the Import box. Or click Choose File to browse your computer and select the file.
    import file area
  8. Click the blue Import button.
    click Import button

Verify Questions are Correct

Whenever importing questions we recommend you verify the questions are displaying correctly. The most common issue is the question is put into the question name, but not the question text box. The question name is only visible to the instructor, so for students the question would be blank.

  1. From the Questions tab in your Question Bank, select the category you just used.
  2. Scroll down to the table of questions. For each question click Edit.
  3. To preview, click Preview. This will display the question as students will see it. To view the right answer, click "Fill in correct responses" below the question. To exit the preview, click "Close preview."
  4. To edit the question, click Edit question. Make your changes and click Save changes at the bottom.

Setting up the quiz in Cougar Courses

Now that you have the questions in the question bank in your course, the next steps are to set up the quiz. Check out these help guides for the next steps:
Create a Quiz
Adding Questions to a Quiz from the Question Bank