Resources for North Island College Students Learning in the Digital World
Digital Test Taking Tips

Digital Test Taking Tips

Taking a test in a digital learning platform (like Brightspace or similar) is quite a bit different than taking a test in a face-to-face environment. For decades students have been taking tests in online environments. Here is a collection of good practices and tips with specific references and examples for NIC students using Brightspace. If you wish to explore further – here are some other resources to skim:

Before the Test (Exam, Mid-Term, Quiz)
  • Create a study plan that includes a vareity of strategies spread out over a period of time
    • e.g., create practice questions, summarize your notes, create a concept map of key components in a course, study with a friend online by asking each other questions, review chapters in the text book, etc. (cramming or last minute studying only creates more stress and puts information in short term memory which won’t be there for remembering later on when you need it for the next test – aim for putting information in long term memory)
  • Take a practice test
    • e.g. your instructor may have a practice test to take that won’t affect your marks
  • Get a good amount of sleep
    • your brain functions better, can make clearer decisions and think through answers when you have rested your brain and body
  • Do not take a test on a smart phone 
    • the smartphone’s wireless connection is often unreliable for continual strength of the signal and can result in less than desireable outcomes
  • Prepare your desktop or laptop computer and internet connection
    • use a desktop or laptop computer to take a Brightspace test
    • ensure you have a strong and dependable internet connection (wired connections are more reliable with fewer interruptions, Wi-Fi and wireless connections are more prone to interruptions or disconnections to the internet = more stress if your test gets interrupted!)
    • test the link to Brightspace and your course/test area so you have proper login and access
    • ask anyone in your house or living arrangements who share the internet connection to pause any downloading, watching of streaming TV shows or movies, gaming activity etc (you want to ensure there is no possibility for interruption and also the largest access to the internet connection for your test)
    • close all applications using the internet (e.g., synching to a cloud location, checking for updates, messaging apps – any app still working ‘in the background’ uses the internet connection and can decrease your best access to the test)
  • Prepare a quiet and private location 
    • have a spot that is free of distractions and will allow you to concentrate
    • put a sign on the door to indicate you are in a test, tell your friends, turn off your phone and any other distractions


During the Test (Exam, Mid-Term, Quiz)
  • Don’t cheat. Don’t plagiarize. Don’t copy and paste from another website or someone else’s work. Don’t text a friend. Don’t engage in any actions that are not your original thoughts, answers or work.
  • Take the test as soon as you can
    • Instructors often make the tests available for a number of hours or a few days. Plan to take the test at the earliest possible time in case you have a technical issue or need help from your instructor.
  • Read all of the test instructions – very carefully
    • Many times we miss small points or key directions that can cost time. Pay attention and read slowly.
  • Take note of timed test instructions
    • Many instructors choose options around the ‘timing’ of the test. Take note of the timer status bar. Sometimes there is a max time limit your have for taking the whole test and it might say something like this:”This test has a time limit of 60 minutes”
  • Take note of number of attempts allowed
    • Some intructors may allow you to have multiple attempts to take a test within the timed period with the last attempt counting. Some instructors do not let you have multiple attempts. The test can only be taken once. Pay attention to these details.
  • Take note if force completion, backtracking and how all questions are presented
    • If your instructor chooses force completion you must complete the test or survey the FIRST time you open it. You can’t exit and continue the test later. The “Save” option is available for you to save your answers, but you can’t exit and re-enter.
    • If your instructor prohibits/prevents backtracking, you can’t go back to questions you have already answers. An error will appear when you attempt to use the “Back” option within the test or survey.
    • If your instructor has chosen to present the questions “all-at-once” it means all the questions will appear at the same time on the same page you will scroll down. Save your answers by choosing “save all answers” button. The question completion status section will display a saved icon for each question you have answered. You may change your answers after you save them.
    • If your instructor has chosen to present the questions “one-at-a-time” it means only one question appears on the screen at a time. You decide when you are ready to move on to the next question. These options are available. 1. Navigate through questions with the navigation arrows (<<, <,> or >>). The “Question Completion Status” section shows the current location and the overall number of quetsions. When backtracking is not permitted, the arrows don’t appear. 2. Save answers. Select “Save All Answers” and all the questions you have answers up to this point are saved. 3. Finish the test by selecting “Save and Submit”. You will receive confirmation and a receipt page that states that the test or survey is completed.
  • View the details for each test 
    • At the top of each test or quiz, you can view detailed information about things like multiple attempts, the timer, navigation, and an optional description and instructions. You will also see if you must complete the test after you open it.
  • Don’t refresh the page, close the window or use the browser’s back button while you take a test
    • Doing any of these actions can result in unfavourable results depending on the settings for the test (e.g., refreshing the page may be counted as one attempt at the test and you are locked out and can’t take the test etc.)
  • Clear multiple choice answers
    • If you are unsure of your selection on a multiple choice question, double-click to clear your answer choice
  • Answers are auto-saved but you can save your responses by clicking “Save”
    • If possible as you move through the test, save and save often. It will bring you greater comfort knowing your answers are locked in. If there is a power outage or an internet disconnection you want to be sure all your answers have been saved. Choosing “Save” in Brightspace will help lock in your answer.
  • Compose short and long answers in a word processing program first and copy your response into the test area
    • If there is a power or internet interruption or issue with your computer, you won’t lose your composed response. Ensure the work is yours and original.
  • When done, don’t forget to “Save and Submit”
    • At the bottom of the Brightspace Quiz or Test will be a “Save and Submit” button to indicate you are all done and wish to submit and finalize the test. Don’t forget to select this!



After the Test (Exam, Mid-Term, Quiz)
  • Reflect on what went well, what didn’t go so well – and what will you do differently next time
    • Before you get your grades or soon after receiving your grades, take some time to think about these questions:
      • What worked well in terms of your study strategies?
      • What worked well in terms of how you took the test?
      • What do you need to change for the next test?
      • Did you have reliable internet connectivity?
      • What did you learn about yourself as a student through this experience?
  • Find out your grades and correct answers
    • There are many choices for instructors to choose when setting up a test in Brightspace including when you can see your grade, the feedback, and correct answers. Each instructor chooses these options differently. Feedback can include one or more of these items: final score for the test, answers submitted, correct answers, feedback for the questions.
    • The majority of questions are auto-graded. Your instructor defines the correct answers and assigns points to each question. Brightspace system validates your answers and assigns the score.
    • Essay, file response and short answer questions are not auto-graded. Your instructor must manually grade these question types. Grades for these question types are released after your instructor finishes grading and allows it.
    • You may see your score immediately after you complete the test if all the questions are auto-graded AND your instructor releases this information. Your instructor may choose a date in the future to release test score while some of your classmates are still taking the test.
  • Access feedback and grade information by selecting the quiz in the blue navigation bar area “Grades”
    • On the quiz to see the feedback and score but also see feedback in the Quiz area



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