Test writing with LaTeX

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windu34
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Test writing with LaTeX

Post by windu34 » October 7th, 2018, 6:38 pm

Hey all,
So I've recently discovered LaTeX (I know Im late to the game) and am curious to hear from those who have written exams using it and their thoughts on it. My initial concern was images are more difficult to include than in a word doc, but I realized I could just have a separate image packet, which is becoming a standard at many tournaments.
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Re: Test writing with LaTeX

Post by andrewwski » October 7th, 2018, 10:37 pm

Images are easier in LaTeX. Way less fighting to put them where you want them. For example:

Code: Select all

\begin{figure}[!h]
\centering
\includegraphics[width=6 cm]{Figure1.jpg}
\end{figure}
The "!h" forces the figure to appear exactly where you want it to.

The exam class makes the formatting pretty easy.

I use LaTeX almost exclusively.

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Re: Test writing with LaTeX

Post by syo_astro » October 8th, 2018, 8:44 am

First, not late at all! I didn't really get into LaTeX until my senior year of undergrad, so by no means is it essential earlier on. The main thing LaTeX teaches you is that templates vastly speed up writing regardless of the program you use or style you're writing in (exams, papers, etc).

One recommendation: If you use LaTeX, try to find a friend who already has a filled in template/test written. I think the biggest lesson you can learn with LaTeX is that usually someone else will have done what you're trying to do (like, image sheets and beyond). Formatting always sounds easy, but being new at anything means things will take time means wasting time. Disclaimer: I use word for my tests just because it's easy to copy and paste from my past tests...I'm sure exam class would make some things easier, but I find word works for making something quick [Though, as I hinted at, I do use LaTeX now for some things].
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Re: Test writing with LaTeX

Post by knightmoves » October 8th, 2018, 1:51 pm

The "exam" documentclass is your friend. It also makes it easy to produce an answer sheet. I don't know how to do bubble/scantron style sheets for multiple choice, though. Anyone?

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Re: Test writing with LaTeX

Post by Jacobi » October 8th, 2018, 2:43 pm

knightmoves wrote:The "exam" documentclass is your friend. It also makes it easy to produce an answer sheet. I don't know how to do bubble/scantron style sheets for multiple choice, though. Anyone?
If you want a legit scannable scantron, than you have to purchase some brand of them.

If you just want a no-frills answer sheet (just Q #s and answer letters), then I would suggest that you don't need to make it bubble. A simple list in Word with some tabs (or a comparable setup in ) can be just as easy to grade (or perhaps easier, since you can actively see which answer was chosen instead of which was not filled).

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Re: Test writing with LaTeX

Post by windu34 » October 8th, 2018, 2:56 pm

syo_astro wrote:First, not late at all! I didn't really get into LaTeX until my senior year of undergrad, so by no means is it essential earlier on. The main thing LaTeX teaches you is that templates vastly speed up writing regardless of the program you use or style you're writing in (exams, papers, etc).

One recommendation: If you use LaTeX, try to find a friend who already has a filled in template/test written. I think the biggest lesson you can learn with LaTeX is that usually someone else will have done what you're trying to do (like, image sheets and beyond). Formatting always sounds easy, but being new at anything means things will take time means wasting time. Disclaimer: I use word for my tests just because it's easy to copy and paste from my past tests...I'm sure exam class would make some things easier, but I find word works for making something quick [Though, as I hinted at, I do use LaTeX now for some things].
Thanks for the suggestions! I found a template test as you recommended and it looks like it will be fairly straightforward to edit.
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Re: Test writing with LaTeX

Post by itsDerk » January 19th, 2020, 8:58 pm

I know I'm not an alum but I stumbled onto this thread so I guess I'm gonna ask a troubleshooting question real quick.

I'm writing LMMM for the Solon invitational and I decided to use LaTex's exam class to create the answer sheet and key for it just because I wanted to learn Latex whatnot at some point.

So I tried doing something like this in the document:

\begin{questions}
\question
\begin[solutionorlines]
random solution text
\end[solution]
\end[questions]

I don't need to include any question text because LMMM is supposed to be stations, but then the "1." that should be generated for the question disappears when I'm not trying to print the answers, and everything is working correctly when I do use \printanswers at the top.

This might be a really random and really specific problem but maybe someone will know what's going on.

Thanks!
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Re: Test writing with LaTeX

Post by antoine_ego » January 20th, 2020, 5:51 am

itsDerk wrote: \begin{questions}
\question
\begin[solutionorlines]
random solution text
\end[solution]
\end[questions]
There are a couple of things wrong here. First, you should be using curly braces around all environment names, such as questions. The reason the number doesn't show up is because the questions environment, as defined in the exam class, basically has an "if nonempty" condition to it. A workaround is to just add a blank space to avoid this with a $\qquad$. Working code follows:

\documentclass{exam}
\begin{document}
\begin{questions}
\question $\qquad$
\begin{solutionorlines}
random solution text
\end{solutionorlines}
\end{questions}
\end{document}
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Re: Test writing with LaTeX

Post by itsDerk » January 20th, 2020, 6:09 am

antoine_ego wrote:
January 20th, 2020, 5:51 am
itsDerk wrote: \begin{questions}
\question
\begin[solutionorlines]
random solution text
\end[solution]
\end[questions]
There are a couple of things wrong here. First, you should be using curly braces around all environment names, such as questions. The reason the number doesn't show up is because the questions environment, as defined in the exam class, basically has an "if nonempty" condition to it. A workaround is to just add a blank space to avoid this with a $\qquad$. Working code follows:

\documentclass{exam}
\begin{document}
\begin{questions}
\question $\qquad$
\begin{solutionorlines}
random solution text
\end{solutionorlines}
\end{questions}
\end{document}
Shoot I copied over what I typed wrong, I did in fact have the curly brackets. My bad.

Thanks for the workaround though, I’ll try it out soon. Sounds like it should work.

Thanks for the help!
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