Submitting to a Gradescope variable length assignment

For this type of assignment you will normally

For details see the Gradescope help page: Variable-length submissions.


What type of file can I submit?

You need to combine all of your images into a single PDF.

If you have typed your answers in Word you will need to save the file as a PDF before uploading it to Gradescope.

Uploading image files

You may notice that Gradescope allows the upload of image files as well as PDF. While you are free to submit this way, you are strongly advised to submit a PDF if possible. This is for the following reasons:

  1. PDF scans will be more compressed than image files so, particularly if you have difficulties with your internet connection, a single PDF file will be quicker and easier to upload.
  2. If you submit images, you need to upload a separate image to every question. This will be more time-consuming and, crucially, with image files tagging your answers is incorporated into the upload process – so the tagging must be complete before the submission deadline (unlike with PDF files where the file needs to be uploaded before the deadline, but tagging can take place after the deadline).
  3. If you upload your answers as image files, Gradescope requires you to upload a file for every question, even questions you did not answer.
    In this situation, for questions you did not attempt, please upload a scan of a page saying “Not Answered”.
  4. If using an iPad, you need to have scanned your pages and saved the images to your device before you start uploading – if you use the camera to photograph your work as part of the upload process you can only upload one image per question (this will be an issue if some of your answers extend over more than one sheet of paper).


Scanning your work

For general guidance on scanning handwritten work see Scanning and submitting handwritten work to an assessment in Blackboard.

You will also find useful advice on the Gradescope help page Scanning Work on a Mobile Device.

The scanning apps recommended by Gradescope differ from those which we recommend. Whichever app you plan to use, make sure that you have installed it in advance of the exam, and are confident in how to use it.

Some apps only allow you to scan a few pages into a single file – for instance, with the MS OneDrive app you can scan a maximum of 10 pages, which may not be enough for some exams.

The latest versions of MS Office, Office Lens and iOS Notes Scanner apps have a much higher limit which should be more than enough to scan all pages of your exam.

You are advised to allow at least 30 minutes for scanning and uploading your work.
Exactly how long it takes will depend on the number of questions, and how many pages you have written.


Tagging pages

When you have submitted your answers to a ‘Variable-length submission’ you need to tag your pages – match the answers to the right page.

  • For each question, click the question number on the left of the screen, then on the right hand side click the PDF page or pages that contain your answers to that question.
    You can use the SHIFT key to select multiple questions at a time.
  • You can assign multiple questions to the same page and multiple pages to one question.
  • If each question is on its own page in your PDF, use the Assign Pages Sequentially button in the bottom action bar to quickly assign these pages.

See Variable-length submissions on the Gradescope help site for further information, and a video showing how to properly mark your PDF.


  • Tagging your answers correctly helps to ensure that markers won’t miss some of the answers you have submitted – it is in your interest to do it accurately!
  • If your Gradescope test or exam has a time limit, tagging your answers does NOT need to be completed within this time – the submission time will be recorded as the point at which you successfully uploaded your PDF, not when you finish tagging the pages.

When you press Submit, Gradescope warns you if you haven’t matched a page to each question. Press Continue Matching to complete the process, then Submit again.

Gradescope warning - not all questions matched

For some assessments, you can choose which questions to answer. In this case you will not be able to match all of the questions, so can just press Submit Assignment.

For instance, your exam asks you to answer 2 out of 4 questions. You answer questions 1 and 4.
When you submit your paper Gradescope will warn you that Questions 2 and 3 don’t have matching pages, but you can ignore this warning.

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