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 recommended - if you encounter issues, try Chrome or Safari [Mac]),
og in to Blackboard,
   set the window size before you begin the test (do not maximize/minimize during a test).

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

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.  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.

Test Settings

During an All-at-Once test, click a Save button during the test often and again before submitting.  
Although Bb will auto-save, clicking a Save button will record your answers each time you click it.

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.

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.
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.

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 adding or updating answers in the test, the AutoSave feature will not activate and you may be timed out due to inactivity.
  Entering text in a text box is not Blackboard activity.  You must click a link to remain active.  Blackboard will log you out if you remain 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 connection with your service provider or find a different location that does.
Your computer settings and actions may cause you to be timed out.
 Follow the steps above 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.

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. 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.
  3. 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 (built in to Mac OS X -  Apple has discontinued Safari for Windows)
    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.
  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 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.
  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.
  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 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.
  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 is a JavaScript-based WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) tool.
  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 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. 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 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.
    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.
    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 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. Save a screen shot or PDF 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.
  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.  
    Send a copy of your test confirmation page or error notification. 
  9. OOPS! If your browser crashes, you lose Internet connectivity, or have any other technical issue, WAIT.  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.
    The instructor will decide how to handle your issue.  Only your instructor can help you in such instances.


Bb Support 9/15