Exam Template for Pandoc

#teaching

Like many people, I have been teaching online for some time now. In order to help students get an idea of how well they understand the material, I have been giving them and grading weekly homework (keep in mind that it is not common in French universities to give homework in math bachelors).

I have been using the very nice exam LaTeX class for some time. It works well, but I found it annoying to copy/paste my template each time I want to create a new exam. I decided to write a small template to be used with Pandoc, so that I can also write my exams in Markdown rather than LaTeX. It was not completely trivial since the exam class requires bullet items to use the questions and parts environment, and the \question and \part commands, which I did not want to retype manually all the time. I thus wrote a little Pandoc filter to save some time.

Here is it (exam-template.tex):

\documentclass[12pt, a4paper $if(réponses)$, answers $endif$]{exam}

\usepackage{polyglossia}
\setmainlanguage{french} % change to your favorite language

\usepackage[babel]{microtype}
\usepackage{amsmath, amssymb, mathtools, mathrsfs}
\usepackage{enumitem}

% fonts can be customized here
\usepackage{unicode-math}
\defaultfontfeatures{Ligatures=TeX}
\setmainfont{TeX Gyre Pagella}
\setsansfont{Linux Biolinum O}[Scale=MatchLowercase]
\setmonofont{Cascadia Mono}[Scale=MatchLowercase]
\setmathfont{TeX Gyre Pagella Math}[Scale=MatchLowercase]

\usepackage[svgnames]{xcolor}

$if(tikz)$
    \usepackage{tikz}
    \usepackage{pgfplots}
    \pgfplotsset{compat=1.17}
$endif$

% for some reason pandoc uses this
\newcommand{\tightlist}{}

% put your custom macros here
\newcommand{\N}{\mathbb{N}}
\newcommand{\R}{\mathbb{R}}

\shadedsolutions

% change your institution here
\header{$cours.court$}{}{Université de Paris}
\runningheadrule{}

% customize question format here
\renewcommand{\thequestion}{\bfseries \sffamily Exercice \arabic{question}}
\renewcommand{\thepartno}{\arabic{question}\alph{partno}}

\title{\sffamily $titre$}
\author{$cours.long$}
\date{$date$}

\begin{document}
\maketitle
\thispagestyle{headandfoot}

\begin{questions}
    $body$
\end{questions}
\end{document}

The filter is here (exam-filter.lua):

function Div(el)
        return {
          pandoc.RawBlock("latex", "\\begin{" .. el.classes[1] .. "}"),
          el,
          pandoc.RawBlock("latex", "\\end{" .. el.classes[1] .. "}")
        }
end

function Str(e)
  if e.text == "@q" then
    return pandoc.RawInline("latex", "\\question")
  elseif e.text == "@p" then
    return pandoc.RawInline("latex", "\\part")
  else
    return e
  end
end

Here is an example exam (example.md):

---
titre: Exam title
cours:
  court: Short course name
  long: Long course name
date: Date / deadline
réponses: false # set to true to show answers
---

@q This is the first question.

:::solution
Solution to the first question.
:::

@q This is the second question.

:::parts
@p This question has parts!

::: solution
And parts can have solutions too.
:::

@p Multiple parts are possible.

::: solution
And each one gets a solution!
:::

<!-- don't forget to close the :::parts -->

:::

To compile the file, install Pandoc (and LaTeX, obviously) then run the following command:

pandoc --pdf-engine lualatex --template exam-template.tex --lua-filter exam-filter.lua example.md --output example.pdf

Then you should get something like example.pdf.