Installing R/exams

[This article was first published on R/exams, and kindly contributed to R-bloggers]. (You can report issue about the content on this page here)
Want to share your content on R-bloggers? click here if you have a blog, or here if you don't.

1. R

The R/exams system is an extension for the R system for statistical computing and hence the first installation step is the base R system.

  • Windows and (Mac) OS X: Go to, the Comprehensive R Archive Network (CRAN). Simply click on the link for your operating system and at least install the “base” system. It is recommended to also install the accompanying “Rtools” which are not needed immediately but might useful at some stage.
  • Linux: While it is possible to download from CRAN by hand, it is easier for most distributions to install the packaged binary. For example, on Debian/Ubuntu:

    apt-get install r-base-core r-base-dev

There is a wide variety of interfaces for using R including simply the shell, Emacs, or dedicated graphical user interfaces for Windows and OS X, respectively. Moreover, RStudio is an open-source cross-platform integrated development environment that facilitates many common tasks for R beginners.

2. R package “exams”

The core of R/exams is the open-source R package “exams”, also available from CRAN. It can be easily installed interactively from within R with a single command. If necessary, the development version of the package is also available, which may provide some new features or small improvements.

  • Stable version:

    install.packages("exams", dependencies = TRUE)
  • Development version:

    install.packages("exams", repos = "")
  • Details: Several additional R packages, automatically installed by the command above, are needed for certain tasks: base64enc (HTML-based output: Base64 encoding of supplements), knitr (R/Markdown-based exercises), png (NOPS exams: reading scanned PNG images), RCurl (ARSnova: posting exercises), RJSONIO (ARSnova: JSON format), rmarkdown (pandoc-based conversion), tth (HTML output from R/LaTeX exercises).

    3. LaTeX

    For producing PDF output, the typesetting system LaTeX is used internally by R/exams.

    4. Pandoc

    For certain conversions performed internally in R/exams, specifically when Markdown is involved, the universal document converter pandoc is employed. If you have installed RStudio, then pandoc is provided along with it and nothing else needs to be done.

    Otherwise pandoc can be obtained from its web page (linked above) or standard repositories, e.g., for Debian/Ubuntu:

    apt-get install pandoc

    Optional: Further scanning tools

    Note: Unless you want to process written NOPS exams from scanned PDF files, this section can be skipped.

    If the scanned images of written NOPS exams (from your photocopier) are in PDF format, they need to be converted to PNG first using the PDF Toolkit pdftk and ImageMagick’s convert.

  • (Mac) OS X: Not tested yet but presumably similar to Linux.
  • Make sure everything works

    To check that the software from Steps 1-4 works, try to run some examples from the exercise template gallery, e.g., dist or ttest.

    To leave a comment for the author, please follow the link and comment on their blog: R/exams. offers daily e-mail updates about R news and tutorials about learning R and many other topics. Click here if you're looking to post or find an R/data-science job.
    Want to share your content on R-bloggers? click here if you have a blog, or here if you don't.

    Never miss an update!
    Subscribe to R-bloggers to receive
    e-mails with the latest R posts.
    (You will not see this message again.)

    Click here to close (This popup will not appear again)