Test Taking Tips

Bb Test Taking Best Practices

Before you begin, 
   log out of Blackboard,
   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,
   disable pop-up blockers and firewalls, 
   always run anti-virus, anti-spyware, anti-adware, anti-malware, and other security software,
pen only your Internet browser (Firefox, Chrome, or Safari),
og in to Blackboard.

Do not use a wireless (WiFi) or satellite connection for a test.

To avoid a loss of your answers, use only the navigation buttons and links in Blackboard.
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.

During an All-at-Once test, click a Save button during the test and again before submitting.  Bb will auto-save, but clicking a Save button will help keep your answers safe.

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.

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 in another device.
If you lose your connection during a Force Completion test, you must contact your instructor immediately and provide details of the issue.  
OIT can not assist with a Force Completion test issue.

If your instructor set the test for Multiple Attempts, 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.

If a test is timed, 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 test when you add or modify answers.  
If you are not adding or updating answers in the test, the AutoSave feature will not activate and you may be timed out due to inactivity.
Your Internet Service Provider may drop your connection, resulting in being timed or locked out, especially in a Force Completion test.
Your computer settings and actions may cause you to be timed out.
In general, Blackboard does everything it is programmed to do to save your answers and keep you from being timed out.

Before the Exam

  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.
  2. Avoid using a wireless (WiFi) or satellite Internet connection because a weak signal or a brief interruption in the signal during the exam can stop you from submitting it properly.
  3. When you log in, Blackboard starts your session and tracks your time. After about three hours of non-navigation (not clicking to go to a different page or to save) Blackboard may close your session. To avoid an unexpected lock out, log out of Blackboard and log in before starting your exam. Answering questions without clicking a Save button does not count as active use in Bb.
  4. 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), AVG or Microsoft Security Essentials (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.
  5. Review the Blackboard Software and Hardware Recommendations to find the best browser for your system. If the browser and version you use is Certified by Blackboard, Inc., for your computer's operating system, you will avoid most problems.  
    We recommend FirefoxChrome, and Safari (version 6 or newer, Mac OS -  link is for Windows/Safari 5.1.7, the latest update.  Although Bb no longer tests this version, it continues to work for us.)
    NOTE:  There are some configuration options for Internet Explorer that may make some features of Bb difficult to use and others not function as expected.
  6. 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 you connection speeds 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.
  7. To have enough unused RAM to take the test, restart your computer before logging in to take an exam. Programs and websites do not always release computer memory. Restarting your computer will help ensure that Blackboard has all of the resources it needs to function properly.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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 alone (for 3 hours) 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.
  13. 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 is a JavaScript-based WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) tool.
  14. 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 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.

Taking the Exam

  1. To enter the exam, click 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 it may lock it. Answers not saved will not be recorded.
    If you encounter issues with a Force Completion test, contact your instructor immediately with details of your actions.  OIT can not assist with a Force Completion test issue.
    Allow Multiple Attempts = you may return to the 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.
    A timed test continues running the clock until you click Submit, even if you leave Blackboard.
    All at Once = all questions are on one page. Click a Save button often, preferably for each question to record each response.
    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.
  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 for any Blackboard navigation. Always use the navigation links on the Bb page.
  5. Do not resize or refresh the browser window after loading the exam.
  6. 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.
  7. Click the Submit button only once; it may take a few moments before you receive confirmation of a successful submission. 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.
  8. 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, and when you did everything.  A red icon with an exclamation point indicates an error occurred.  Contact your instructor immediately.
  9. OOPS! If you lose power, your browser crashes, you lose Internet connectivity, or have any other technical issue, contact your instructor immediately and explain in detail what happened.
    The instructor will decide how to handle your issue.  Only your instructor can help you in such instances.
Bb Support 3/15