Online Test Taking Tips


There’s a lot of information on this page but reading through it can help prevent testing issues. Given the multitude of factors that can contribute to online testing issues there is no way to prevent them completely from occurring but following these steps can reduce the chances.


There’s a lot of information on this page, but reading through it can help prevent testing issues. Given the multitude of factors that can contribute to online testing issues, there is no way to prevent them from occurring but following these steps can reduce the chances.

Mobile Device Compatibility – Most tests are not mobile technology compatible since not all test question types are compatible with mobile browsers. Therefore, you may not be able to complete the test if you are using a mobile device. It is HIGHLY recommended that you use a Computer to take Online tests.

Before Starting a Quiz/Test

  • If the Instructor has set up a practice test, be sure to take the practice exam on the computer(s) that you plan to use for your tests. Do this early so you have time to identify and resolve any issues that may exist.
  • Only one (1) browser window or tab should be open (the one you will use to take the exam). Launching a second browser window when the exam is displayed may cause you to be locked out of the test.
  • Maximize your browser screen before starting the test. Most browsers refresh the page when you re-size the screen. This means it will try to reload the test and may prohibit you from taking the exam.
  • Minimize the number of applications running. Use only what you need to complete your test.
  • Only have one Brightspace Session open at a time. Whenever you log in, Brightspace starts a session for you and tracks your time. After about 3 hours, your Brightspace session may close. If you have logged in several times within 3 hours, you may have multiple sessions open, which can cause database issues because it doesn’t know what session to use. When preparing to start a test, you may want to log out and log back in to start a new session for the test. To prevent having multiple sessions running, make sure you always log out of Brightspace when finished. This way, you always start a new Brightspace session when you log back in.
    Important Note: Internet browsers also store session data. You may find that you need to clear your browser cache to clear any session data that your browser may have stored for Brightspace.
  • DO NOT select the test link unless you are actually prepared to take the test at that time. If you are not ready to take a test, select Cancel when prompted.
  • If you must take a test by a specific date or time, DO NOT wait until the last minute to start it. Should something go wrong, there may not be enough time to resolve the issue before the deadline.
  • Know how to contact your instructor should you experience problems during the test.

Technical Recommendations

  • Internet Browsers: review the Check Browser and System Requirements web page for a list of compatible Internet browsers and make sure your computer meets the minimum requirements to work well with Brightspace.
  • Internet Connections: Wireless Internet connections (such as public and home networks, cellular air cards, Wi-Fi, etc.) are NOT recommended for taking online tests. Consider the reliability of the connection to the Internet. If the Internet signal is weak or there is a brief interruption in the signal during the test, it may not submit properly. A hard-wired connection is the most reliable and is recommended when taking tests.
  • Toolbars: Turn off third-party browser extensions. Third-party browser extensions include (but are not limited to) features such as Google or Yahoo toolbars associated with the browser.
  • Pop-Up Blockers: Pop-ups should be allowed. Make sure that the pop-up blocker feature is turned off on the browser. Pop-up blockers can prevent the test from displaying.
  • Adware: Make sure your computer is free of ‘Adware’ applications. These applications will periodically open a popup window containing an ad. You can use a free program like AdAware from Lavasoft ( to evaluate your computer.
  • Firewalls: Both personal and corporate often block access to Brightspace. This can include Norton and/or McAfee Personal Firewalls.
  • Browser Buttons: To prevent data loss, loss of a page, or loss of a secured connection, DO NOT use the “Back,” “Forward,” or “Refresh” buttons from the browser toolbar.

During a Quiz/Test

  • Do not double-click on the Begin button or click the Begin button more than once when starting the test. If you click a second time, you may find yourself locked out and unable to access the test.
  • Wait for the test to load on the page completely before selecting answers. Depending on your computer and Internet connection, it may take a little while to load a test, especially if it is long and contains essay questions or images.
  • Read Test Instructions. Brightspace provides instructors with a variety of test settings. Depending on your instructor’s test settings:
    • Some tests may be taken more than once (multiple attempts)
    • Some tests may require that they be completed in one sitting (force completion)
    • Some tests may allow you to complete one section and return to finish additional sections (multiple attempts not allowed/force completion. This test can be saved and resumed later)
    • Some tests may be timed. A timer will appear, showing the elapsed time you have been in the test. Depending on the timer settings:
      • your test may be automatically submitted when the time limit has been reached
      • your test continues after the allotted time has been reached, and the timer continues until you submit. Your instructor might penalize you if you take longer than the allotted time for the test.
    • Some tests display questions all at once, which allows you to access the entire test and move around from item to item.
    • Some tests display questions one at a time, showing only one question at a time; you may not be able to return to a previous question (does not allow backtracking). Only select the single arrow “>” button to move to the next question. Selecting the double arrow “>>” will take you to the last question of the exam and may cause time-out issues on the exam.
  • When using a mouse with a scroll wheel, be careful scrolling. Always click a blank area on the test before using the scroll wheel. This will ensure you do not inadvertently change answers on the Test.
  • Essay Questions: As entering or after entering your answer in the text box, select the Save Answer button for the question to keep your Internet connection active and save your answer. Also, you may want to compose essay responses in a word processing program like WordPad or TextEdit and save the responses and then copy and paste your answer into the text box. This way, you will have a backup of your work if problems occur with your test submission.
  • Be cautious with the Backspace key. Make sure the cursor is within the text-entry field when trying to correct errors. Hitting the Backspace key when the cursor is elsewhere on the page may cause your browser to return to a previously viewed page or refresh the page and could prevent you from re-accessing a test.
  • If your test allows, check over your answers before you Save and Submit to make sure you did not change an answer accidentally.
  • Be sure to review the results page that appears once you have submitted the assessment. Some instructors have included comments for their multiple-choice type quizzes. These comments will help you to understand what you got wrong and why. The results page will also inform you if the submission was successful or not. Please note, some faculty may choose not to allow you to see feedback, just the score.

What to do if I Encounter a Problem?

Internet Technology is not problem-free. It’s possible that at some point, you may encounter a problem while taking or submitting a test, despite following the tips provided:

  • Lose your Internet connection in the middle of an exam; do not close your browser window. Try to re-establish your connection. If the exam is still displayed, complete it and try to submit it. If you are concerned about whether the test was properly recorded, print a copy of the confirmation page for your records and email your instructor indicating you encountered technical difficulties.
  • An error message appears. Write down the error message word for word, also note the time and date the error occurred, along with the Internet browser you were using, what you were doing when the error occurred, and any other relevant details.
  • Take a Screenshot of the error message, test screen, etc. If your test answers are still visible, make sure you get all the answers in a screenshot or two. This can help identify the problem, but it can also document your work on the test to the point when the problem occurred.

Contact your Instructor. As soon as you encounter a testing problem, it’s best to open up communications with your instructor. Please provide as much information as possible to your instructor when you contact them. In a case where test responses have been lost or unable to re-access a test, the decision about how to proceed is ultimately up to the instructor. Most faculty will include general information about their course policies related to online testing in the class syllabus. If you are in doubt, contact your instructor for information.



Article ID: 130817
Mon 3/22/21 3:52 PM
Sat 4/29/23 10:17 PM