You don’t know how to take an online testa test that is administered onlineand you are going to have to take several online tests this term.


Learn to avoid rookie errors that can trip you up.


  1. Study with other people. Whether an online test is part of a self-paced online course or a face-to-face course, start a study group, either in person or online, as far in advance of the exam as possible.
  2. Get organized. An online, open-book quiz or test can take longer than a normal test if you’re not sure where to locate the information you need. When you prepare, study like you would for a normal, in-class, timed test; your notes and books should be for occasional reference only. Don’t think you can learn everything you need to know on the day of the test.
  3. Resist the temptation to surf the Web for answers. The answer you pick might not be what your instructor is looking for. It’s much better to check your notes to see what you were taught in class.
  4. Work together. If your instructor allows collaboration on tests, open up an instant message window with a fellow student. Take the test together, and take it early.
  5. Stay focused. When you’re taking an online test, it’s easy to fall prey to real-life diversions like Facebook, iTunes, or a sudden urge to rearrange your closet. Whatever you do, take the test seriously. Go somewhere quiet where you can concentratenot Starbucks. A quiet, remote spot in the library is ideal.
  6. Budget your time. Keep an eye on the clock so that you’ll be sure to finish the entire test. Tackle the easy questions first. Once you get the easy questions out of the way, you can revisit the harder ones.
  7. Practice using the test interface. Ask your instructor if you can practice with a “zero points” quiz, so you can familiarize yourself with the testing site and the question setup. You don’t want to be nervous about how the site works while you are answering questions on a test that will affect your grade.
  8. Ask about special rules. Online tests can be set up differently than regular tests. Find out in advance if there’s a penalty for wrong answers, if you can retake the test, and if you can go back and change an answer.
  9. Plan for an intermittent connection. There’s always the risk of losing your Internet connection in the middle of the test. To be on the safe side, type your answers and essays into a Word document. Then leave time at the end of the test session to cut and paste them into the test itself.
  10. Use all the time allotted. If you finish early, take a few minutes to check your answers and spelling carefully (that’s good advice for traditional tests, too).


Use study guides or a study session from each class to create your own online practice test. If you use Google Drive, you can create a file called a “form,” which allows you to create a test, quiz, or survey that you can use with your study group. Everyone in the group can use it at times that are convenient for them, rather than only when the group can get together.