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Taking Tests and Quizzes

Tests are already stressful. When your test is online in Blackboard, you can have even more to worry about. Make online test-taking easier for yourself by following these tips.


Before Taking the Test or Quiz:

  • If possible, use a computer with a wired connection to the internet. Wireless networks are less reliable and may cause you to get locked out in the middle of your test.
  • Do not start the quiz until you are ready.
  • Do not wait until the last minute to take the quiz. If something goes wrong there won't be enough time to resolve the issue.
  • Make sure you have enough time to finish the quiz in one sitting. Many instructors set up their assessments so that you have to complete it in one session.
  • If you’re taking a timed test, have a clock or timer nearby to keep an eye on the time. The countdown timer in Blackboard may not display on your computer.
  • Ensure that the computer you’ll be using is stable, free of spyware, popups, and/or viruses. If possible, use a computer in a campus or library computer lab where you will be free from distractions (and cats jumping on your keyboard).
  • Disable the Visual Text Box Editor in Blackboard. The Visual Text Box Editor allows you to use different fonts and colors when typing text in Blackboard. If a quiz contains more than one essay question on one page, some browsers may have problems displaying them with the Visual Text Box Editor. To disable the editor: on the My NKU tab, click Personal Information in the Tools box. Click Set Visual Text Box Editor Options, select Unavailable, and click the Submit button.
  • Well before you expect to take a quiz, make sure you are able to log in to Blackboard.
  • Run the Blackboard browser test and read the results thoroughly to make sure your computer is set up properly to use Blackboard. To run the test, click "Test your Browser" in the bottom right corner of the main Blackboard page before logging in.
  • If using Internet Explorer on Windows, add "learnonline.nku.edu" to your trusted sites. Directions for IE 6.Opens in a new window Directions of IE 7.Opens in a new window Also adjust your security settings as follows:
    • Open Internet Explorer
    • Click on the Tools menu
    • Choose "Internet Options"
    • Click on the Security tab
    • Click on Trusted Sites
    • Click on Custom Level
    • Scroll down to Scripting
    • In the "Allow paste operations via script" category, chose Enable
  • Disable your pop-up blocker, or if you know how – add learnonline.edu to the list of sites allowed to display popups.
  • Close down all other programs running on the computer, except for a text editor for composing essay answers (if needed). Having multiple programs open may cause problems that result in loss of quiz data.
  • Use the latest version of your web browser. We recommend using Internet Explorer on Windows or Firefox on a Mac. Other browsers can cause problems.
  • Make sure your computer has the latest version of JavaOpens in a new window installed.
  • Maximize or resize your browser window before you start the quiz. Some browsers refresh the page when you resize the window, which may lock you out from completing the quiz.
  • If you are using AOL to access the Internet, once the connection is made, minimize the AOL window and use a different browser (Internet Explorer or Firefox).
  • If you are using a dial-up Internet connection, make sure call-waiting is disabledOpens in a new window and that everyone in your household knows not to pick up the phone. Also be sure to set your ISP timeout setting to the maximum allowed time (check with your ISP to find out what their maximum timeout is). The following instructions are for Windows computers:

    1. Click on Start and Control Panel.
    2. Double-click on Internet Options.
    3. Click on the Connection tab near the top of the Internet window.
    4. Under Dial-up settings, choose the service you use to connect to the Internet.
    5. Click on the Settings button.
    6. Click on the Advanced button near the bottom. You should see a check box on the window that appears which says: Disconnect if idle for _____ minutes. You can set this higher than its current value, but you should not uncheck the option.


During the Test or Quiz:

  • When entering the quiz, click the link only once. Sometimes it takes a while to load the quiz. If you click twice, you will get a message saying you already took the quiz and will be prohibited from completing it.
  • Do not use the back button while taking a quiz. There may be a back button on your mouse or keyboard--be careful not to bump these, and do not press the backspace key unless you are typing in a text box.
  • When using a mouse with a scroll wheel, be careful when scrolling. First, click a blank area on the quiz, then use the scroll wheel. Otherwise, you risk changing some of your answers.
  • Click the Save button every few minutes to record your answers to the gradebook and ensure you’re still connected to the internet.
  • Before submitting your quiz, check over your answers and be sure that none of them were changed accidentally.
  • If you receive an error message, write it down exactly and note the time/date of the problem, what web browser you were using, exactly what you were doing when there was an error, and any other relevant details you can think of.
  • Do not click on the Submit button until you are done or have almost run out of time. You may not be able to go back to the quiz after you submit it.
  • Click Submit only once; it may take a few moments to receive confirmation of successful submission. You will receive a confirmation screen when it has been successfully submitted.
  • Click the submit button before the test time is up. If the test is a timed assessment, the total test time will be displayed on the top of the test page. The elapsed time will appear at the bottom of your browser. A 1-minute warning will be sounded. Be sure to click the Submit button before the time is up.
  • Save a copy of your test answers. We highly recommend that you keep a copy of your answers in case something goes wrong:
    • Essay questions: compose essay questions in another program such as Notepad and SAVE THEM to your hard drive, then copy and paste your answers into the test screen. Have Notepad (or your favorite text editor) open and MINIMIZED before you start the test. Then you can go back and forth by accessing the test and the tefrom the task bar. However, do not resize the Blackboard window or use the back button.
    • Objective questions, such as multiple choice, true or false, or match: write down the answers quickly on a piece of paper.
  • If you lose your connection to the Internet while taking a quiz, leave the window with the quiz open while you reconnect to the Internet. You may be able to finish the quiz once you are back online.


After Completing the Test or Quiz:

  • If you received confirmation or feedback upon completing the test, your answers have been recorded successfully and there should be no problem.
  • When submitting the completed test, you may see a warning stating that some of the questions MAY be incomplete. This is not necessarily an error, and as long as you are able to submit the test and see the Receipt page, it should be fine.
  • If there seems to be a problem, go back to content area and find the test. If the test is a "force completion" type, you can check for confirmation. If the link is still there, clicking on it should either tell you that you have already taken the test or it will provide you feedback about your test results. If you are asked to take the test again, cancel out. Starting the test over again will delete the work you have completed to that point.
  • If your instructor allows you to view your grades, you can open the View My Grades or Student Gradebook, and you should see one of the following:
    • Your score for the test
    •  ! which means the test is submitted, but not graded by the instructor
    • Lock iconwhich means you did not complete the text.
  • If you see the Lock icon in the gradebook or you did not receive confirmation that your test was completed, e-mail your instructor and ask him or her to check to see if your test came through and that it is complete. If you encountered a problem, provide those details to your instructor.

Thanks to The University of North Carolina Greensboro Division of Continual Learning, Wayne State University, and Moorehead State University Distance Learning for providing most of these resources.