Multiple choice question and timed Blackboard exams

Preparing for your exam

How do I prepare for my exam?

Read through all guidance provided in advance and know who to contact in case of any technical issues during the exam. Make sure you have the internet browser recommended by your School - some exam platforms perform better on certain browsers. Where possible, close any other applications on your computer, to ensure the exam runs smoothly and doesn't crash. Prepare as you would for any other test or exam, even if it is open book (see separate student guidance on preparing for open book exams). You may find it helpful to replicate exam conditions in your environment - clear your desk, ensure comfort and privacy, and have a clock / timer in easy view.

Can I see the Blackboard exam system before using it for real?

Yes, your course should provide you access to a mock exam. If you're unsure where this practice area is, contact your Programme team.

What are the rules during timed exams?

  • Be aware of the University’s rules on plagiarism and academic malpractice.
  • Students on professionally regulated programmes will also be bound by their professional bodies' codes of conduct.
  • Complete the exam independently and do not confer with anyone during it.
  • Do not make copies of any exam questions (either written or screenshot).
  • Do not share details of the exam with anyone.
  • Do not approach or ask anyone for support with the exam.
  • By submitting your exam, you confirm that it is all your own work.

Will the questions appear all at once or one at a time?

This will depend on the exam. If the questions appear one at a time, you need to click 'submit' before moving on to the next question. If you move on without clicking submit your answer will be automatically saved (even if you haven’t chosen an answer). You may be able to go back and review your answers, and make changes, before completing the exam.


Timing during your exam

How long do I have to complete my exam?

Timed Blackboard exams will usually be available for at least 24 hours. Once you begin the exam there is a fixed period of time to complete it. You must do the exam in one sitting - you cannot pause the exam, or leave and re-enter it later.  Do not close the text window before you’ve finished, as your exam will be automatically submitted even if you haven’t answered all the questions. The guidance about your exams provided by the Programme team should include details of when the exam will be available and how long you have to complete it.

When does the timer in a Blackboard exam start?

Your exam time starts when you click 'Begin'. Do not click this until you're sure you are ready to start - you will usually have to complete the exam in one sitting.

Are there alerts to say how much time is left during a Blackboard exam?

Yes - when you take a timed exam, the remaining time appears on a status bar. Timer warnings appear when half the time, 5 minutes, 1 minute, and 30 seconds remain. If you prefer, you can minimise the timer.

Can I continue the exam beyond the allowed time?

Some exams will allow you to continue after the timer has ended, while others will automatically submit your exam when the time is up - this is set in advance by your instructor. The guidance provided before your exam should tell you whether you can continue after the timer ends.

  • If you are allowed to continue after the timer ends (for example, to allow for any technical difficulties), note that any submissions made after the timer ends will be flagged as late and you will need to provide evidence of the reason for that lateness.

  • If you are not allowed to continue after the timer ends, your exam will automatically submit when the time is up - even if you haven’t answered all the questions. In this case you should make sure to allow yourself time towards the end to review and submit your answers.

If you experience technical difficulties during the exam and Blackboard allows you continue beyond the time limit, you must choose 'Cancel' when you see the message "The time has expired. Press OK to save and submit. Click Cancel to continue the test." If your exam is affected by technical difficulties, evidence will be required if you decide to make a mitigating circumstances claim.

How do exam adjustments through DASS apply for timed exams?

If you are registered with the University's Disability Advisory and Support Service and have exam adjustments, any extra time will be added to your Blackboard timer automatically. This extra time will apply to the time period of the exam, but not the availability window. For example, in a 2 hour exam available for 24 hours:

  • If you are allowed 25% extra time, then you would have 2 hours 30 minutes to complete the exam within the 24 hour window.
  • If you are allowed rest breaks and/or toilet breaks, these are applied as an extra 10 minutes per hour for each. So if you have both types of break, this is 2 hours plus 20 minutes plus 20 minutes - a total 2 hours 40 minutes. You must still complete the exam within the 24 hour window.
  • If you are allowed extra time, rest breaks and toilet breaks, this would be 2 hours plus 30 minutes plus 20 minutes plus 20 minutes - a total 3 hours and 10 minutes.

What if I haven't been given extra time when I believe I should have?

Please contact your Programme team as soon as possible.


Technical issues during your exam

If I temporarily lose connectivity during my exam, will I be able to access it again?

All exams are set to allow for any temporary loss of access. If this happens do not worry, just login again and resume your exam. If the issue continues, refer to our online exams and assessments FAQ for further help.

If I temporarily lose connectivity during my exam, will I lose the work I've already completed?

No, your work is saved regularly. If you lose connectivity you should be able to return and access your answers as they were when your connection dropped.

What if my computer crashes during the exam and it takes several minutes to log back on?

  • Take screenshot or photo of any error message(s). Save this photo file and do not amend after the incident, to preserve the date stamp.
  • Attempt to re-enter the test and complete the exam as best you can in the time remaining.
  • Alert your Programme team of the issue as soon as possible after the test. They will advise you of whether you should submit a mitigating circumstances claim.

What if I have an ongoing technical / IT issue during a timed exam?

Our online exams and assessments FAQ will tell you what to do in the event of a technical / IT issue during an exam.

What if I can't complete an exam due to technical problems or other circumstances?

If technical problems, illness or other personal circumstances affect your ability to complete an exam, you may make a claim for mitigating circumstances. Further information is available on our mitigating circumstances pages.

What if I miss my exam?

You cannot sit an exam after the availability window has passed. You may apply for mitigating circumstances, as above.

What if I think there is a factual error in one of the questions?

You cannot query or challenge a question during the exam. After the exam you can report the question to the Programme team.