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### 8.3 The test description file

Suppose that you want to use the exercises in our exercise database to create different exams that have first 10 true/false equations, second multiplechoice questions on data sets of one numerical variable, third multiplechoice questions on the normal distribution, and fourth a final exercise of the short answer type (to hand in) again on the normal distribution.

You can achieve this task with manyex using the following test description file, that you can call for instance “desc-test”:

##################################################
##################################################
##################################################
# This is a test description file for "manyex"
#
# To create the normal LaTeX exams give the command
#
#    manyex -n -f file-name
#
# where file-name is the name of this file.
#
# This will create "exam".tex and "answer".tex,
# where "exam" and "answer" are the prefixes
# that you choose below (if not defined the pre-
# fixes will be actually "exam" and "answer").
#
# It also creates mn-correct, a text file where
# each line starts with the exam number (001, 002,
# ...) followed by the correct answers for each
# question (A,B,C... for # multiplechoice, A=true,
# B=false for true/false and just A's for short-
# answer), and mn-logfile with information on
# the tasks done by manyex.
#
# Then compile the latex file with latex, for
# instance
#
#   latex exam.tex
#
# You can also complile the answer file if you
# want to distribute the answers after the exam.
# The output will contain all generated exams.
#
# Look at mc-logfile after each run for possible
# errors.
#
##################################################

##################################################
#
#  Base directory for database of exercises
#
##################################################
directory "../example_base"

##################################################
#
# 1st part: Options and definitions for latex file
#
##################################################

# Options for documentclass article
documentclassoptions "12pt,a4paper"

# Packages to be included - I use "epsf" for graphics, and
# configure my preferred document layout in manyex.sty, whic
# you can find in this same directory
usepackage "epsf,manyex"

# Master tex file with macro definitions (<mastertex>.sty)
mastertex "master"

# Latex file prefix for the exams (<examtex>.tex)
examtex "exam"

# Be careful not to have some other files in the exercise
# database directories starting also with this prefix. For
# instance grapchics filenames should start differently.
exerprefix "exer"

##################################################
#                                                #
#  2nd part: describe the tests to be created    #
#                                                #
##################################################

# Set random seed
# If you change this number the tests created
# will be different. With this you can always reproduce
# the same sequence of exams, if needed.
seed 8726

# Set first serial number (exam numbering).
# and will increase by 1.
serial 1

# Define exercise types and how many exercises are required
# per type. The first argument is an integer expressing
# how many exercises of this type are to be included in the
# exam. There should be enough exercises of this type in the
# corresponding subdir of the exercise database (or subdirs,
# more than one can be specified). The second argument
# specifies (between quotes) the name of the subdir where
# the exercises are contained within the exercise database.
# More than one subdir can be speficied:
# use 3 from "1num_1", "1num_2"
# for instance.

# exercise/endexercise lumps all true/false questions together
# and puts a header "Exercise 1" in front of them, otherwise each
# true/false question would be indexed: "Exercise 1 - Question 1",
# "Exercise 2 - Question 2"... and so on.
exercise
use 5 from "1num_t"
use 5 from "Normal_t"
endexercise
# We now include the rest of exercises
use 1 from "1num_m"
use 1 from "Normal_m"
use 1 from "Normal_s"

# Total number of exams to create, you can create as many exams
# as you want, they will be all different unless you have very
# few exercises in the database and you request a lot of exams
create 4

##################################################
### End test-description file
##################################################


COMMENT: The first part of the file includes different definitions for the processing of the LaTeX file, such as the options for the “article” style, which is the one used in the exams. It tells also to manyex what is the name of the “master file”, in this case master.sty. It includes to additional packages (with “\usepackage”): “epsf” and “manyex” which has been written for this example to define the layout of the document. This is the content of manyex.sty:

%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%
% This file sets up some parameters
% for my preferred layout
%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%

%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%
%  Reduce space between items
%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%
\def\@listI{\setlength\leftmargin{\leftmargini}%
\setlength\parsep {0\p@}%
\setlength\topsep {.4em}%
\setlength\itemsep{0pt}}

%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%
% Large layout
%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%
\oddsidemargin  -0.5in
\evensidemargin -0.5in
\textwidth      7.5in
\topmargin      -0.5cm
\textheight=10.5in
\footskip 0 in
\parskip 0.10in


In this part the prefix for the LaTeX file containting the exams and the answers, and the prefix of the exercise files can be defined.

The second part describes the actual exams being created. With the seed for the random number generator it is possible to generate exactly the same set of exams, unless you change the exercise database adding or removing exercises.

See the exercise/endexercise construct, to lump together all true/false questions.