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Online Learning

 Tips for Taking a Test, Quiz, or Exam

Preparing Your Computer

Have One or More Recommended Internet Browsers Installed

Whether using Canvas or Blackboard on a PC or Mac, we recommend the use of Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox. Please do not use Internet Explorer, especially when taking an exam.

Check your Internet connection:

When deciding on a time to take your exam, take into account times when your connection seems to slow down or lose connectivity. These issues can cause your quiz or exam to disconnect, possibly making you lose your work. If possible, use a computer with a wired connection as opposed to a wireless. Wireless connections can change their IP address with little to no warning. Therefore, it is advised to have student take assessments while on a wired connection.

Disable pop-up blockers:

Pop-up blockers can cause problems with saving and submitting exams. If you have multiple pop-up blockers, disable them all. These blockers come installed in the latest versions of browsers, in third-party toolbars such as Google and Yahoo, and they can come with utility software such the Norton products from Symantec.

Taking the exam

Read your instructor’s test-reset policy.

Your instructor may have a policy listed in the course Syllabus on how she/he will deal with requests to reset an exam due to technical issues.


If your instructor gives you a time block of one, two, or several days to complete an exam, do not wait until the last minute to do it. If any technical problems arise, you want to allow ample time to contact your instructor, submit a Help Request to Online Learning Student Support, resolve the issue, etc.

Click Take Quiz/Exam.

Once you begin the exam, you will need to complete it in the time allowed. DO NOT open up the exam unless you are ready to complete it in the time allotted. Click on the link for the exam once, not twice. You will get a prompt asking you if you are sure you want to take the exam. Once you click OK, you may begin your exam.

Allow the page to load completely before answering questions.

The page may take a moment or two to load completely. If you begin scrolling or answering questions before it loads completely, it might not load all of the questions and they might go unanswered.

Read the exam instructions carefully.

The exam instructions tell you exactly how to take the exam, and will include any special instructions that your instructor might have included. Any instructions about back tracking, forced completion, and multiple attempts will be listed here.

Do Not Click on the Browser Action Buttons (such as the back button).

Do not use the browser action buttons, such as Refresh/Back/Forward when in an assessment. This changes the user session, and is expected to 'break' their attempt, as the system could interpret the actions as multiple attempts with different browsers.

Some instructors may set an assessment with Force Completion or Backtracking Prohibited. If the instructions reference "Forced Completion," this means that once you begin the exam, you are required to complete it in one session - you cannot exit the exam and return later. DO NOT CLICK ON THE BACK BUTTON ON YOUR BROWSER. As soon as you leave the exam by clicking elsewhere, you will not be able to access it again.

For exams that deliver all of the questions on one page, if you did not save any answers or save the exam, none of your answers will be recorded.

It is a good idea to click Save after each question answered, in case of technical difficulties. Saved answers will be recorded, even if you were to get kicked out of the exam due to a lost internet connection.

Write essay answers in a word processor first.

If your instructor allows you to do so, you might begin writing your essay answers in a word processing program, one that you would save often, and then copy/paste your answer into the field for the question. This comes in handy if any technical difficulties arise. You can also check your spelling and grammar in the word processor.

Prepare your browser for short-answer or essay questions.

If you get confronted with a dialog box saying "The application's digital signature has been verified. Do you want to run the application?" Click Run. This will allow you to, among other things, use Blackboard's Visual Text Box Editor, a text area into which you can type.

Submitting the exam

Submit the exam.

Once you have finished answering the questions, click the Submit button at the bottom of the exam. If you do not submit the exam, you will receive no credit for your answers. You should see a confirmation page if the submission was successful. Clicking the Save button does not submit an exam.

Confirm your submission.

Once you submit an exam, a confirmation message should display. If you did not receive confirmation, go back to the content area and click the link to the exam for the status.

Check the your grades to confirm exam submission.

If you see a grade/score or an exclamation point (!), then the submission was successful, and you are done. If you see a lock icon, then you should contact your instructor and ask for verification. If anything happened to your browser or Internet connection during the exam, or you received any error messages, include this information with your email to the instructor.

Common errors/issues

Accidentally quitting the exam

If you lose power or close your browser--or something else causes you to stop taking the exam before you submit it--contact your instructor immediately to explain what occurred and to ask for a reset. (NOTE: technical support staff are not able to reset assessments for students.)

Having Issues? Use an On-Campus Computer Lab

If you are still having issues when trying to complete a quiz or exam, try using an on-campus computer lab.

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