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Best Tips for Taking a Test

The best tips to avoid being locked out of an assessment.

This page is purposed to help student avoid being "locked out" of an exam while in progress. There are many reason a user can be locked/timed out of a test, including connectivity issues, browser issue, walking away and not having activity for long periods of time, etc.

If for some reason the assessment does get locked, the student must contact your instructor [immediately] to have the attempt cleared in order to start over.

Here are some simple tips to help avoid problems while taking a Test or Quiz:

  • Do not wait until the last minute to take exams; if you experience technical problems they will take time to be resolved.
  • It is NOT recommended that students take an assessment using a mobile device.
  • Do a browser test before taking the assessment - this can be found on the Resources tab in the Browser Compatibility Tester module.



  • Use a wired connection if possible. Wireless can sometimes lose it's signal without notice.
  • Firefox and Google Chrome are the browsers of choice when taking a Blackboard assessment. Nonetheless, be sure that you are using a browser that is compatible with Blackboard.
  • Always click Save after answering each question
    • Keep your browser window active. Typing or clicking answers is not considered activity; clicking the Save button does keep the server active.
  • Single click instead of double click on the button to Begin the exam, as well as, arrow for Next Question, Save and Submit, etc.
  • Do not resize the screen while taking an assessment.
  • Do not click the REFRESH button while taking an assessment.
  • Do not click the BACK arrow on your browser screen while taking an assessment. Use the assessment features to move around in the assessment.
  • Avoid hitting Return/Enter. This may cause an inability to advance.
  • Only have one Blackboard session running at a time. When taking a test, try closing out all other programs, browsers, activities, especially instant message applications like Google Hangout, AIM, Yahoo! Messenger, as well as email notifications. This will help with slowness.
  • Ideally, turn off popup blockers for tests, but if you choose to keep popups blocked, at least make Blackboard (https://blackboard.vcu.edu) an Allowed (or Trusted) Site.
  • Do not attempt to print an exam. Not only could this cause an issue with the test, but unless directed to do so by the course instructor, this could also be considered breaking VCU's Code of Ethics in many cases.
  • Wait for questions to load – After you single-click to begin a test where all questions appear on one page, let all the questions load.
  • Type answers to essay questions in word processor then copy and paste the answers into the text fields provided for each essay question. This way, you have a copy of your answers just in case you lose your internet connection and need to re-take the exam.
  • Once you have entered the exam do not leave until finished. Do not click outside of the exam area. For example, do not click on any Blackboard menus such as Assignments, Course Documents, Announcements, etc. Do not attempt to access other web pages or files during exam -- this may cause exam to fail.
  • At the end of an exam, be sure to select Submit.. Only Submit will send the completed exam to the instructor. Click Submit only ONCE. Do Not Double Click.
  • When you receive your confirmation; it is always a good idea to print (or do a Print Screen) and save your results so that you have a record of your attempt.
If you are locked out of a Bb Assessment, please contact your instructor, or follow instructions given by your instructor.

This article was updated: 10/2/2017