About Fill in Multiple Blanks questions

For Fill in Multiple Blanks questions, students view text that can contain up to 10 blanks. You can add a maximum of 100 answers for each blank. Students type the appropriate word or phrase for each blank. For questions with a single blank, use Fill in the Blank Questions.


"Four [a] and [b] years ago" is the beginning of the [c] delivered by [d].

Fill in Multiple Blanks questions are graded automatically. Answers are scored based on if student answers match the correct answers you provide. You choose the evaluation method for answers:

  • Exact match
  • Contains part of the correct answer
  • Matches a pattern that you specify

You choose whether or not the answers are case-sensitive.

In restored courses, case sensitivity is turned off for all existing Fill in Multiple Blanks questions. Edit those questions and select Case Sensitive, if needed.

Create a Fill in Multiple Blanks question

Fill in Multiple Blanks questions have two parts: the question and the set of answers.

  1. Access a test, survey, or pool. From the Create Question menu, select Fill in Multiple Blanks.
  2. Enter the question text using square brackets with variables for the information students need to complete. Bracketed variables appear as text boxes to students.

    Variables can consist of letters, digits (0-9), periods ( . ), underscores ( _ ) and hyphens ( - ). Variable names must be unique and you can't reuse them.

  3. Select Allow Partial Credit if you want to give each correct answer an equal fraction of the total point value.
  4. Select Next.
  5. On the next Create/Edit page, select the number of answers for each variable. You can add more than one possible answer—up to 100—for a single variable.

    Answers for a multiple blanks question defined by variables


  6. The variables you defined for the question appear in a row for each answer named BLANK-1, BLANK-2, etc. Clear the variable's text and then enter the correct answer for the blank. 
  7. Select Exact Match, Contains, or Pattern Match from each answer's menu to specify how it will be evaluated against the student's answer.
  8. Select Case Sensitive if capitalization matters.
  9. Select Next.
  10. Optionally, enter feedback for correct and incorrect answers.
  11. Select Submit and Create Another or Submit to add the question to the test.

Note how the answers are constructed for the example question. For answer A, the evaluation method is Exact Match because the word "score" is pulled directly from the speech. Answer B has two potential correct answers to allow for both "7" and "seven." For answer D, the evaluation method is Contains to allow for "President Lincoln," "Lincoln," "Abe Lincoln," or "Abraham Lincoln."

More on Fill in Multiple Blanks questions with JAWS®

Partial credit

Select Allow Partial Credit to award a percentage of the total points when students provide correct answers for some of the blanks. The amount of partial credit is assigned automatically, based on the question's possible points and the number of answers. This option only appears if you selected it on the Question Settings page.

More on partial credit

Answer sets for each variable

Keep answers simple and brief in the answer sets. To avoid difficulties with auto-grading, you can limit answers to one word. One-word answers prevent issues such as extra spaces or word order causing a correct answer to be scored as incorrect.

  • Select Contains from the menu in the answer to allow for abbreviations or partial answers. This option counts a student's answer as correct if it includes the word or words you specify. For example, set up a single answer that contains Franklin so that Benjamin Franklin, Franklin, B Franklin, B. Franklin, and Ben Franklin are all counted as correct answers. Then, you don't have to list all the acceptable possibilities for the answer Benjamin Franklin.
  • Provide additional answers that allow for common spelling errors. Or, select Pattern Match from the menu in the answer and create a regular expression that allows for spelling, spacing, or capitalization variations.

Pattern Match

You can create a regular expression that allows for spelling, spacing, or capitalization variations in an answer.

A regular expression is a search pattern used for matching one or more characters within a string. With regular expressions, you can count certain patterns as correct, rather than an exact text match. For example, regular expressions enable grading of the wide range of possible answers that are typical of scientific data.

In a regular expression, most characters in the string match only themselves and are called literals. Some characters have special meaning and are called metacharacters. You can conduct an internet search on "regular expressions" for a complete list. This list includes some examples:

  • A dot (.) matches any single character except newline characters.
  • Brackets [ ] match anything inside the square brackets for one character.
  • A dash (-) inside square brackets allows you to define a range. For example, [0123456789] can be rewritten as [0-9].
  • A question mark (?) makes the preceding item in the regular expression optional. For example, Dec(ember)? will match Dec and December.

Simple string examples:

  • b.t - matches with bat, bet, but, bit, b9t because any character can take the place of the dot (.).
  • b[aeui]t matches bat, bet, but, bit.
  • b[a-z]t will accept any three-letter combination that begins with b and ends with t. A number won't be accepted as the second character.
  • [A-Z] matches any uppercase letter.
  • [12] matches the target character to 1 or 2.
  • [0-9] matches the target character to any number in the range 0 to 9.

When you choose to match a pattern for an answer, you can test the pattern and a new window opens.

Watch a video about Fill in Multiple Blanks questions

The following narrated video provides a visual and auditory representation of some of the information included on this page. For a detailed description of what is portrayed in the video, open the video on YouTube, navigate to More actions, and select Open transcript.

Video: Fill in Multiple Blanks Questions shows how to create Fill in Multiple Blanks questions, list answers, select an evaluation method, and provide feedback.