Test Center

Guide to Online Test Taking

Online test taking is a very different experience than taking a test in class or in the Test Center. Whether you think it will be easier or you're worried about it, it's best to plan ahead and be ready to take your exams online.

Know the parameters for your test

when: as early in the semester as possible

  • Each instructor is going to give assessments differently! Check each class’s syllabus and contact your instructor if you’ve got questions or how you’re going to be tested is unclear
    • (Remember-- your instructor is learning too! Things may change!!)
  • Things to look out for:
    • Is the test going to be timed? Do you need to take it at a certain time or sign up for time? Is Proctorio going to be used?
    • Is it open note? Can you take it multiple times?
  • If you have testing accommodations: LET YOUR INSTRUCTOR KNOW ASAP.


ideally, 1-2 weeks before your test

Give yourself time to take your test

when: day of your test (or, even better, several days before!)

  • If you can, don’t plan things back to back. Having a dentist appointment, another assignment or even making dinner hanging over your head while you're taking a test will only make it harder to do well.
  • Give yourself time BEFORE and AFTER the test.
    • For example: for an hour long midterm at 2pm, block off time from 1:45 - 3:30 to take your test. This will give you time to troubleshoot at the beginning and give you some breathing room at the end so you’re not rushing off to the next thing.

Carve out a REAL test space

when: day of your test (or, even better, several days before!)

  • Ideally in a room by yourself where you can shut the door..
  • Let the other people in your home know you’re testing ahead of time, so they won’t bug you or interrupt your focus
  • Set up a space where you can sit comfortably without having to move a lot (some tests may flag you if you move too much!)
  • Check out the CLC for more advice on how to set up a study space that works for you.

Know what to do if tech issues happen

when: right before

  • Make sure your WiFi connection is stable
    • if you can, plug directly into your modem
  • Is your browser and are your extensions up to date ?
    • remember: most things will require CHROME
  • If you are using a laptop, is it charged with the power cord handy?
  • Do you know who to contact if problems happen?
    • Your instructors email for most things
    • If using Proctorio, use their troubleshooting tool before anything else.

Breathe. You got this

when: during your test

  • Don’t rush! You may not be used to seeing a clock tick down your time, but you don’t win a prize by finishing fast. Speeding through makes it easy to miss things (even WHOLE questions!)
  • Check to see if you’ve answered everything! Sometimes you’ve got to click a few times on your answer to make sure it sticks…

Want more tips?

More (and other articles about online learning) can be found on this blog: The Cengage Blog