Office of Information Technology

Blackboard – Best Practices for Taking Tests

Before You Begin

  • Plug your laptop into the power outlet, unless you are absolutely certain that your laptop has enough battery power to last for the duration of the test.
  • Turn off your wireless connection. Wireless issues can cause your exam to disconnect, possibly making you lose your work. Turning off the wireless connection differs from laptop to laptop, but usually involves pushing a button or switch near the wireless card.  On some laptops, the connection can be turned off via a screen in the wireless software itself.  Don’t assume your wireless connection is automatically shut off just by cabling into the port. Your wireless connection may still be overriding the cable connection.
  • Plug your laptop into the nearest available network port. Verify that connection to the network has been established by going to sites such as Google or Yahoo.
  • Close down any other programs that may distract you from the test or interfere with it, such as instant messaging, e-mail notification, or call waiting.
  • Check your laptop idle time to make sure that it will not go into sleep mode prematurely
  • Disable all pop-up blockers. These blockers come installed in the latest versions of Internet Explorer and Firefox, in third-party toolbars such as Google and Yahoo, and they can come with utility software such the Norton products from Symantec. In Internet Explorer this is done by In Internet Explorer, go to Tools > Popup Blocker > Popup Blocker Settings > Type *.westernu.edu in the Address of Web Site to Allow field > Click Add.
  • Ensure that your laptop has the latest Operating System (e.g., Windows) patches. Automatic updates can disrupt your current browser session or make your laptop very slow.
  • Use a web browser that is compatible with or certified to work with the current version of Blackboard we use here at WesternU. For Windows PC users, this is Internet Explorer 7 or 8.  If you are using a computer with an operating other than Windows, check the next page for compatible browsers.
  • Do not resize or refresh your screen after loading the quiz/test. Make sure the screen is the size you want before going into the quiz/test. Most browsers refresh the page when you resize the screen so the browser will try to reload the quiz/test if you resize/refresh.
  • If you lose your connection during the test, keep the browser window open and try to reconnect to the Internet immediately.
  • If you are unable to connect or reconnect to the Internet, or your laptop is performing slower than usual, talk to your instructor and request a loaner laptop or alternate means for completing the quiz/test. 

During the Test

  • When beginning the quiz/test, click the quiz link ONLY ONCE and wait at least a minute for the quiz/test to load.. Do not keep clicking on the quiz/test/test link. Clicking on the quiz/test link two or more times may trigger a message saying you already took the quiz/test. If, after clicking once and waiting the full minute nothing happens, contact your instructor or test proctor immediately.
  • Once you have started the quiz, do not leave the quiz/test page for any reason. Using the browser’s back and forward buttons to move to and from the quiz/test will end the quiz prematurely and prevent you from further access until your instructor clears the attempt. If you are permitted to view other online resources during the quiz/test, open a new browser to view them.
  • If the quiz/test is designed so that each question is on a separate page, do not use the back and forward buttons on your Internet browser to move between pages of the quiz/test. Instead use the Previous or Next buttons located at the bottom of each page of the quiz/test to navigate through the quiz/test.
  • After you have started the quiz/test and all the questions have downloaded from the server, click on the Save button at regular intervals as you are taking a quiz/test. This helps keep the browser window active, and insures against complete loss of test data if you lose your connection.
  • Click on the Submit button when you have finished the quiz/test. Clicking on the Submit button guarantees that everything you have answered up to that point will be recorded by Blackboard. Do not click on the Submit button until you are either finished with the quiz/test or you have run out of time.