University of Vermont

Center for Teaching and Learning

Test Taking Tips

For Students

Tips for Taking Online Tests or Surveys in Blackboard

  1. If you experience trouble during an exam,
    Contact your instructor immediately to let them know you are having trouble. Delete your cookies and log in again to resume the exam.

  2. Do not use a mobile device to take an exam.
    Use Firefox or another supported browser on a laptop, desktop, or other computer that is not a mobile device to take a test in Blackboard.

  3. Start with a fresh session and a stable connection.
    Clear your browser's cache and cookies before beginning. Where possible, use a computer connected by cable, i.e., NOT a wireless connection. If you can, use a cable-connected computer on the campus network.

  4. Compose paragraph, essay, and longer text responses offline.
    Composing in a text editor such as Word, NotePad, or TextEdit allows you to save your work locally, and will prevent the loss of work in the event of a network disruption, power outage, computer/browser crash, session timeout, or other unforeseen event.

  5. Keyboarding "Oopses!"
    Below is a list of common keystrokes that might accidentally take you out of your test session in the middle of typing. Possible test-killing keystrokes:
    • the “Backspace” button on your keyboard
    • the “Enter” button on your keyboard
    • the “Back” button on your browser
    • the “Tab” button on your keyboard
    • the "Delete" button on your keyboard

  6. Save answers as you go.
    Make sure you save EVERY answer before moving on to the next question.

  7. Don't confuse your browser, computer, or Blackboard.
    • If possible, have only the browser window where you are taking the exam open. Closing all others unrelated browser windows will give you the best chance of completing your assessment without errors.
    • Make sure there is only one Blackboard session per browser open at a time. In other words, do not have one window open while you are taking an exam and another open for course navigation. The multiple logins may cause problems - including breaking the "Save Answer" buttons. If you need to navigate your course during an exam (i.e. it's "open book"), use a different browser.
    • While you are taking your exam you should also close any other programs or applications that are not essential for completing your exam (e.g. chat programs, RealPlayer, iTunes, Adobe Photoshop, QuickTime, Microsoft Outlook, etc.)
  8. View video [1.5mins] on seeing your feedback and grades

For Instructors

Recommendations for Creating Tests in Blackboard

  1. Do not use the "force completion" option unless you know students will be in a room with you on campus taking the exam. You may need to reset their attempt or add an exception allowing them extra time if they encounter computer, browser, network, or other problems over the course of the attempt.

  2. Set the test options to display one question at a time, instead of all at once. This is especially important in longer tests, but it is also likely to improve the student experience in shorter exams as well.

  3. If a student reports being dropped during an exam attempt, you can review the test access log for that attempt. You can provide additional attempts to a student by adding an availability exception in the test options.

  4. Be ready to allow more time or attempts on the test if students are allowed to take it on their own time and on their own computer. See also: The test availability exceptions section in the test options.

For more help, call the CTL "Doctor Is In" at 802-656-4460 or email explaining your issue.

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