Test Taking Tips

Canvas Support icon
Note: During 2020-2021 Stan State is transitioning to a new primary LMS called Canvas. Blackboard will be unavailable after May 31, 2021. Please visit the Canvas Support page for more information.


Best Practices - Bb Test Taking Tips


Internet Explorer and Edge may display only the first and last test questions, not the ones between.
Use Firefox. If you have issues, try Chrome. It's always good to have a backup.

Basics     Test Settings        Before the Exam        Taking the Exam

Before You Begin - Basics

  • log out of Blackboard,
  • disable pop-up blockers and firewalls, 
  • clear your Internet browser's cache,  
  • close and quit your Internet browser,
  • close all other programs or applications, 
  • verify Java is updated and enabled,
  • verify your computer operating system, applications, and security software are all up to date,
  • restart your computer,
  • always run anti-virus, anti-spyware, anti-adware, anti-malware, and other security software,
  • open only your Internet browser - Firefox recommended, Bb Browser Checker
  • log in to Blackboard,
  • set the window size before you begin the test (do not change/maximize/minimize during a test),
  • click all links or buttons only ONCE and WAIT.

Use a hard-wired Ethernet connection:  faster speeds, better performance, more secure, no delays, no wireless interference problems. It will help you submit your test.
Avoid wireless (WiFi) connection, a satellite connection, or a mobile device.  Connections can drop and your test can end before you submit it.

Use only the navigation buttons and links in Blackboard to avoid losing your work.
Single-click links.  Do NOT double-click in Blackboard. Double-clicking can open and close the test before you begin.

Do not use the Back button or any other browser buttons or navigation during an Assessment.
If an item includes a link to open in a new window, review the material and close the new window before continuing.

Wait for pages to load completely.

Do not use your mouse scroll wheel during a test.  It can change your answer selection.
Do not use the Tab key for navigation.

Take a picture or screen shot and send it to your instructor if something happens during a test.

Check My Grades to confirm your test submission.  If you see Attempt in Progress, contact your instructor immediately.

Blackboard Video How to Take a Test Online (3:03)

Basics     Test Settings        Before the Exam        Taking the Exam

Information about Test Settings

During an All-at-Once test, click once on Save buttons as you proceed and again before submitting.  
Although Bb will auto-save, clicking a Save button will record your answers each time you click.

In a Timed Test, if you are allowed to save and resume the test later, the timer will continue to count. The timer is usually visible above the test content.
The timer begins when you start the test and continues until you click the Submit button or until time expires, even if you leave the test page.
If the timer frame floats over your questions, position the text above or below the floating window to answer the questions.   Use Firefox.

In a Force Completion test you must complete the test on the first attempt. You cannot save and resume the test. 

  • Do not click outside the test area.
  • Do not use the browser navigation buttons or links. 
  • Do not open other browser windows (unless embedded in the test) or other computer applications (unless required by your instructor).
  • Do not open Blackboard on another device.
  • Do not double-click.

If you lose your connection during a Force Completion test, contact your instructor immediately and provide details about the issue.  
Take screen shots.
Only the instructor can modify or reset a test set for Force Completion.

In a Multiple Attempts test, you will see a note at the top of the test. Your instructor may limit the number of attempts. Click the test link to start a new attempt.

In a Timed Test, the timer continues to count until you click the Submit button, even if you leave Blackboard.

An Auto-Submit test will close and submit when the time expires.

NOTE:  The Blackboard Auto-Save feature will save your responses when you add or modify answers.  
If you are not clicking Bb buttons or links, the AutoSave feature will not activate and you may be timed out due to inactivity.
       Entering text in a text box (as in an essay answer) is not Blackboard activity.  You must click a Bb button/link to remain active.  
    Blackboard will log you out if it determines you are inactive for three hours.
Your Internet Service Provider may drop your connection, resulting in being timed or locked out, especially in a Force Completion test.
     Verify you have a continuous, hard-wired connection with your service provider or find a different location that does.
Your computer settings and your actions may cause you to be timed or locked out and have your test invalidated.
     Follow the guidelines and recommendations to help set up your computer for best test-taking results.
In general, Blackboard does everything it is programmed to do to save your answers and keep you from being timed out.

You need to do your part to help Bb help you.

Basics     Test Settings        Before the Exam        Taking the Exam

Before the Exam - Details

  1. If the Instructor set up a practice exam, take it on all computers you might use. Do this early so that you have time to identify and resolve any issues. If allowed, take the practice exam an additional time before the actual exam to help you verify that your computer is still setup properly. Contact your instructor to report any problems before taking the real exam.  Take screen shots if you encounter issues and send to your instructor.
  2. Make sure your computer is free of viruses, adware, malware, spyware, worms, Trojans, and other malicious software. These applications may open popup windows that could end your test.
    OIT recommends the following free anti-virus applications:  Avast (Mac and Windows),  Avira (Mac and Windows).  Install and keep antivirus programs up to date.  
    Keep your operating system and other applications up to date for maximum security.
    Some malicious software has been known to keep the user from logging in to Blackboard.
  3. Review the Blackboard Software and Hardware Recommendations.
    We recommend FirefoxChrome, and Safari (built in to Mac)
    NOTE:  We recommend not using Internet Explorer or Edge.
  4. Do not use browsers provided by your Internet Service Provider (ISP), e.g., AOL, Comcast, Charter, and SBC. These browsers have been modified and do not work well with Blackboard.
    Some dial-up ISPs will terminate your connection if you don't use their browser within a given time limit. You have few options to deal with this. You could return to your ISP (e.g., AOL) browser and click to remain active, which could cause other issues, or use a continuously active connection elsewhere to avoid the problem.
    During high use times, like evenings, service can be slow or can have a temporary break. These issues can cause a disconnect and you may lose your work.
      Check your Internet connection speed at various times over several days to help you decide when to take a test from home.  
    Avoid taking a test when others are using your home Internet connection for such things as games or streaming.
  5. Turn off third-party browser extensions and add-ons.
    Third-party browser extensions include (but are not limited to) features such as Google or Yahoo toolbars installed on the browser.
  6. Open only one browser window — the one you will use to take the exam, unless the exam has an embedded link for a file.
    After reviewing the content, close that window and continue the exam, unless otherwise directed by your Instructor.
  7. Allow Popups. Turn off the popup blocker before starting the exam. Turn it back on after you submit your exam.
    If you have a firewall installed, it may not let you take the test. Either disable it temporarily or go to a non-firewalled computer to take the test.
  8. Set the browser window to the size you want before clicking to start the exam.
    Most browsers refresh the page when you resize the screen. This means it will reload the page and may stop you from taking the exam, possibly locking you out.
  9. Do not use any other applications, unless directed by your Instructor. You may wish to write longer essay answers in a plain text editor. Although using a text editor gives you a backup copy, switching between applications or leaving Bb could cause problems or log you out of the test. Bb times out after 3 hours of inactivity. Typing an answer in a text box does not count as activity. Clicking a Save button will reset the 3-hour Bb clock, but not a dial-up ISP clock. 
  10. When you see a dialog box from Bb that asks you to verify a digital signature or run an application, click the Run button.
    For better results, find and click the Always Allow option. This lets you use the Bb Content Editor, a built-in word-processor-like text editor. The Content Editor uses JavaScript.
  11. Start ASAP. If you have a time frame given by your instructor, begin as soon as possible. If you have a technical problem, you are more likely to have time to find a solution.
    Waiting until the final moments of the final day of the appointed time may be your ticket to serious problems.
    Start the test before the end time based on how much time the instructor allowed for the test, i.e., if the test is set for one hour, begin it much more than one hour before the end date/time of the test.
    Working on a test after the end date/time may prohibit you from seeing all the parts of the test or from completing the test.
    Watch for Bb Maintenance Notices and follow the posted schedule.

Basics     Test Settings        Before the Exam        Taking the Exam

Taking the Exam - Details

  1. Enter the exam by clicking the link once and wait. Sometimes it takes a while to load the exam.
    If you click twice, you may get a message saying you already took the exam and will not be able to begin.
    Wait for the page to load completely before starting the exam.
  2. Read the instructions carefully.
    Force Completion = you must complete the test in one session. Leaving the exam by clicking outside the page may lock it. A lockout can delete all your answers.
    If you encounter issues with a Force Completion test, contact your instructor immediately with details of your actions.  Take screen shots.
    Only the instructor can modify or reset a test set for Force Completion.
    Allow Multiple Attempts = you may restart a new exam within the limits set by your instructor.
    Click the Save button as you work. Click the Submit button to submit your test for grading.
    All at Once = all questions are on one page.
    Click a Save button often, preferably for each question to record each response.  Click only once on the button each time.
    One at a Time = each question appears on its own page. Click the Save button as you answer. Click the forward arrow once to save your answer and move to the next question.
    Some tests may be set to allow you to return to previous questions, others only let you move to the next question.
    Timed Test continues running the clock until you click Submit, even if you leave Blackboard.
  3. Do not run other applications while taking an exam unless directed by your Instructor.
  4. Do not use the browser Back or Forward buttons. Always use the navigation links on the Bb page.
  5. Click links ONCE, WAIT.  Click the Save button ONCE, WAIT.  Do not double-click.  You may end your test if you do.
  6. Do not resize or refresh the browser window after loading the exam.
  7. Save the exam often. Click Save once more before clicking the Submit button. The Submit button sends the exam to the instructor for grading. The Save button does not.
  8. Click the Submit button only once; it may take a few moments before you receive confirmation of a successful submission.
    Save a screen shot of your confirmation page in case you need it later.
    If you don't see a confirmation, return to the page where you started the test and click the link again. If your exam is submitted, Bb will say the exam is completed. Contact your instructor if the exam is not completed.
  9. Check My Grades. An exclamation point (!) on a yellow icon means the test is submitted and waiting for the instructor to complete the grading. Blackboard scores objective tests and displays a score.
    The Attempt in Progress icon indicates a problem, and you should contact your instructor as soon as possible.
       Tell your instructor exactly what you did, what you clicked, what you saw, how many applications and browser windows you had open, and when you did everything.  
    A red icon with an exclamation point (!) indicates an error occurred.  Contact your instructor immediately.  
       Send a copy of your test confirmation page or error notification and screen shots to your instructor.
  10. OOPS! If your browser crashes, you lose Internet connectivity, or have any other technical issue,
    WAIT!  Then WAIT a little longer.  See if the issue clears.
    If possible, capture a screen shot to send to your instructor.
    If you lose power, record date and time and what you had completed.
    Contact your instructor with the information as soon as possible.
    The instructor will decide how to handle your issue.  Only your instructor can help you in such instances.

Basics     Test Settings        Before the Exam        Taking the Exam

Bb 5/18