Student Test Taking Best Practices

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Best Practices for Students when taking Tests

When your professor has scheduled an online test, there are some precautions that are recommended for you to have the best online experience for your test as possible. We list this collection that has been built from the experience of many Blackboard users, both on this campus and at other institutions. You might want to print this out to have on hand as you approach your online test. Please follow these steps and practices below:


  • You have access to a Student Orientation Course site for Blackboard (that looks something like this SO-20-21: Student Orientation to Blackboard), and in there, you can practice submitting assignment and taking two practice tests. We recommend doing this so you can experience the tool before your course test!
  • Reboot your computer prior to beginning the test to refresh your system.
  • Close all other applications; particularly instant message applications e.g. Messages.
  • Start your test as soon as you can and make sure you have set aside enough time plus extra contingency time for completion to account for unknown issues. For example, if your instructor makes a test available for three days, plan to take the test early on the first day. If you have an issue, you'll have time to contact technical support and your instructor.
  • If you have a choice on when you can begin the test, avoid the Blackboard maintenance period between 5-6 am EST, Monday through Friday. This is when servers get restarted and could result in a loss of your work.
  • Ensure you have minimal or no distractions while taking your exam.
  • Once you have entered the test, do not leave until it is finished (unless otherwise instructed by your professor).
  • Do not access the exam until you are ready to take it, and once you have entered the test, do not leave until it is finished.
  • Ensure you have the latest browser version available, and DO NOT USE IE EXPLORER as it is no longer supported by Blackboard. Chrome or Firefox are the browsers of choice.
  • Blackboard has a Browser-Check Site that checks whether your browser supports the most recent release of Blackboard Learn.
  • If Blackboard appears to be unavailable, first, wait 5 minutes, and try your test again without exiting the test if you are in the process of completing it. If you have a large window open to write a test and notice that Blackboard is not working, check to see if there is Regular Maintenance.
  • If no maintenance and other web sites at the University are working check out this PAGE.
  • If your outage reason is still unclear, Submit a Ticket to our Help Desk.

Desktop Computers to take the Test

  • Avoid using mobile devices, if possible, to take the test.
  • It is advisable to take the test on a computer that has wired internet access, not wireless wherever possible. Avoid taking a test using a cellular data connection.
  • Only take a test on a mobile device in the Blackboard app if you know your instructor has prepared a mobile-compatible test, otherwise, see above points or you will be prompted to use a browser anyway.

During the Test

  • View all of the details and instructions. At the top of each test or survey, you can view the information about multiple attempts, the timer, navigation, and an optional description and instructions. The timer status bar keeps you updated on the time left from when you started the test, however, be aware of the instructions your instructor has provided with respect to when your test time ends. Instructors may penalize you if your test is submitted after the time they wish the test to end. You're also informed if you must complete the test after you open it. Select the arrows next to the information section to collapse or expand it.
  • If you notice a problem with internet connectivity, wait 5 minutes and try again before rebooting or closing your connection to the exam.
  • If you have trouble with your test or understanding test questions, contact your instructor immediately.
  • Save your work every 10-15 minutes using the Save All Answers button.
  • Type answers to essay questions in Notepad (or TextEdit on a Mac) then copy and paste the answers into the text fields provided for each essay question. This way, you have a copy of your answers just in case you lose your Internet connection and need to re-take the test. DO NOT USE MICROSOFT WORD! If you paste directly from MS Word, you will bring in some HTML coding that could interfere with the instructor viewing the answer to the essay question or the rest of the test. Use formatting options available in the Blackboard Text Editor.
  • Don't refresh the page, close the window, or use the browser's back button while you take a test.
  • Avoid using the ENTER key, arrow keys, and mouse scroll wheel because these gestures might accidentally change the answer you've selected on one of your questions. Use the browser’s scroll bar and the navigation buttons provided within the test.
  • Do not double click test links or buttons (use a single click only). Double-clicking can cause multiple instances of the exam to be open or can clear your answer choices, leading to problems.
  • Do not click outside the test area. For example, do not click on Blackboard course menu links such as Assignments or Announcements or you might be forced to abandon the current test page (you will get a pop-up warning you of this).
  • Your answers are auto-saved. You can also select Save Answer next to each question or Save All Answers as you work. When you save an answer, Saved appears in the question's row. It is recommended that you click the Save All Answers button every 10-15 minutes.

Completing the Test

  • Ready to submit? When you're finished, select the Save and Submit button only ONCE. If your Internet connection is slow, you may think the test is not being sent, wait three to five minutes for a confirmation that the test was received.
  • After submitting, you may see your score immediately if all questions are auto-graded and your instructor releases this information. However, your instructor must manually grade some question types such as Essays.

More information on tips and explanations of Blackboard test features for students are found at Blackboard’s Student Help pages.

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