Online Tests

The Different Types of Online Tests and their Requirements

There are several different types of online tests, and each type requires some form of technology! The following are a few of the different types of online exams:

  1. The type taken at home, in a school or college classroom, or at a technology resource center;
  2. Closed or open book;
  3. Timed or untimed;
  4. Scheduled or unscheduled
  5. Continual or stored and returned to be completed
  6. A component of a conventional classroom course, an online course, or a combination of both
  7. Graded or ungraded
  8. Immediately scored and returned to student or posted at a later date.

What all these different types of tests have in common is technology. The following is a list of questions to consider if you are to master the art of taking online exams:

Your first priority should be understanding the technology and being able to use it:

  • Check that your computer is - especially if you are using a home computer - technically sound and has the right speed of Internet connection. (An advantage of using a school or college computer is that there may be a technical expert on hand to help you). Some things to check on your computer are Internet connectivity, browser options, security settings, screen or monitor display, cache, and so on.
  • Know how to log in to the test website. In the middle of an exam is not the right time to start navigating a website looking for a test or experimenting with passwords.
    • Is it possible to review all test-related instructions before starting the test?
    • Can you use your student login details or does the test require a special login to be set up?
    • Do you know the address (or URL) of the website running the test?
    • If the test is taking place in a controlled or secure environment, do you need identification? If so, what ID is needed?

If any assistance is required in order to take the test, let your tutor know in advance!

  • Read all instructions carefully when you reach the test page. This will help you manage your time and complete the test. For example:
    • Is time being tracked?
    • If it is, is there a timer or clock that allows you keep track of your time?
    • If you get interrupted, is it possible to save your work and return to it later?
    • Do the questions need to be answered in sequential order?
    • Can the answers be altered later?
    • Does the test software have review functionality that allows you to check back on your answers or look for any questions you may have missed?
    • What happens after the test? Once you have finished answering the questions, there are a few things you need to check:
      • Do you know how to save your work and exit the system so that your answers are not deleted or lost?
      • Is the method for saving your work and submitting it the same or is there a different procedure?
      • If you have missed any questions, will you get alerted?
      • What is the method for checking your score? Can you see it immediately or do you have to access it separately?
      • Is it possible to make a hard or paper copy of your answers?
      • In the case of essay and short answer questions, can you:
        • Type your answers in a word processor and then format and copy them into the test system?

The above guidelines are designed specifically for the technological and procedural aspects of an online test. Please refer to the “Exams” page on’s website for advice on taking other types of tests.

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