Tips for Taking Online Exams

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 1. Review test guidelines & format

  • When will the test take place? Do you have to take it at a specific time or can you start at any time that day?
  • How long are you given to complete the test?
  • Where will you access the test? (Blackboard, WebAssign, Wiley etc.)
  • What kinds of questions will be on the exam? (Multiple choice, short answer, essay etc.)

2. Find your zone

  • Where will you take the test?
  • Choose somewhere with reliable internet connection.
  • Limit distractions: Turn off anything that might distract you from the test – phone, email, TV, music etc.
  • Keep it Quiet: Tell family/roommates you are taking a test and are not to be disturbed. Wear headphones to block out noise.

3. Study

  • Even if a test is “open book”, you won’t have time to look up every answer. You need to be able to recall information quickly.
  • Create Quick Reference note sheets with important information. Use graphic organizers (charts, tables, diagrams) to organize ideas and make information easy to find.
  • Take a practice test as a dress rehearsal: Follow the time limit, only use resources allowed on the test. If not provided, make your own practice test with problems from homework assignments, class notes, and the textbook.

4. Check your tech

  • At least 24 hours in advance:
    • Install any software you need.
    • Update your browser. Does the website recommend a specific browser? If not, use Google Chrome.
    • Come up with a back-up plan: What will you do if the internet stops working? What if your computer crashes?
  • 30 minutes before start:
    • Turn on your computer & check you internet connection
    • Close any windows and programs you won’t need, turn off streaming services, ask others in your household to limit internet use during this time.
    • Turn off or silence your phone

5. Prep your space

  • Gather any materials you are allowed to use: textbooks, notes, reference sheets, calculator etc.
  • Have scrap paper and pen/pencil available.
  • Get yourself a glass of water or a snack.
  • Use earplugs to block noise.

6. Watch the clock

  • Set alarms to remind you when you have 30, 15, or 5 minutes remaining

7. In case of emergency

  • Save a copy of your answers: Write short-answer or essay questions in Word then copy & paste into test. Write multiple choice and computation answers on paper or in a Word document. In the event of a technical glitch you will not lose all your answers.
  • Use two browsers: If you are allowed to look information up, do so in a separate web browser or on a different device to avoid accidentally closing the test page.
  • Technical Problems: Notify your instructor immediately! Explain the exact problem you are experiencing and include a screen shot of any error messages. Don’t wait for your instructor to respond - contact campus IT (585-395-5151 option 6) or website tech support for help.

8. Trust but verify

  • Check your work before hitting submit
    1. Did you answer every question?
    2. Did you answer all parts of each question?
  • Confirm Submission – Do NOT close your browser or refresh the page until you know your submission was accepted. Depending on the platform a message may appear to acknowledge submission or you may be redirected to a new page.

Last Updated 5/26/21