How to attempt Computer Based Online Exam (CBE)

Most exams are nowadays attempted on a computer instead of writing it on paper. Such an exam which is attempted on a computer is called a computer-based exam, sometimes abbreviated CBE. A computer-based exam is attempted on a computer at home or in its designated area within an educational institution. Most of these exams are online exam, however, sometimes they can also be pre-downloaded exam stored at a computer.

Unlike conventional paper-based exam, computer-based exams have made the exam process very easy for students. However, some students may find it difficult to attempt an exam on a computer because they may not be much familiar with the use of the computer. Similarly, as paper-based exams have been in practice for long, the computer-based exam may not give some students that psychological sense of exam which makes them take the exam seriously like a normal exam and thus, perform well with that psychological sense of exam.

However, as the world is modernizing day by day and also due to the current pandemic, computer-based online exams are gaining wide popularity. Therefore, every student should be able to attempt the computer-based exam. If you are new to the computer-based exam, you should know how it works and be prepared for it before attempting the real exam. There are some important points which will help in understanding how to attempt computer-based exam and score well, as follows:

Guidelines for attempting Computer-based Exam (CBE)

  1. How and where to start: There are three ways to start the CBE exam: 1) you are sent an online link, 2) you have made an account on the exam portal, and 3) The test is stored on a computer. To start the exam, you have to click on the link or open your exam account or click on the ICON for the exam that is stored on the computer.
  2. The first page of the exam: When you open your exam, the first page appears. This page asks you to enter your login details (e.g. username and password) which you to enter using the keyboard.
  3. The next page is where you enter your exam-related details such as student ID and exam ID. Moreover, you to choose from some options such as the name of the test or the name of the subject. This information is known to you before the exam, the purpose of entering them here is to make sure you are going to attempt the correct exam.   
  4. Remember, each page has two common buttons: BACK and NEXT. When you complete one page you can move to the next page by clicking on NEXT. Similarly, if you believe you have skipped something on the previous page, and you want to go back to that page, you can do so by clicking on BACK.
  5. When you enter your details and finish the page, click on NEXT to go to the next page.
  6. The next page opens. It gives you all the instructions about the exam such as the time allowed for the exam, sections of the exam, types of questions in the exam and how to attempt them. Read these instructions carefully. At the end of this page, you will see the button START EXAM. When you are ready to start the exam, simply click on the button START EXAM.
  7. As you click on START EXAM, a new page opens. This is the first page of your exam. Remember, from this page, your exam time starts. On the corner of the screen, you will see a clock or timer showing you the remaining time of exam throughout your exam.
  8. Now each page you move on will have a certain number of questions. On each page, you may see a button SAVE AND CONTINUE in a few tests (not all tests). This means when you complete the answers on that page and you want to save your answers, you have to click on this button. This is very important to understand. If you simply keep clicking the NEXT button without saving your answers, you may move to the next page, but the answers are not getting saved. However, do consider this point if this button is given there because most tests store your answers automatically when you click on NEXT to move to the next page.
  9. Most computer-based exams have only short Multiple-Choice Questions (MCQs). Some tests have long descriptive questions. Some test may also have a combination of both MCQs and long questions.
  10. Each MCQ has four or five options. Each option has a small tickable circle or box. The student has to tick the circle or box for the correct option using the mouse of the computer. When an option is ticked, the circle or the box will show a tick mark (✓) which confirms that you selected it. In some tests, the box or circle is filled with black color when they are ticked, which also means that the option has been selected.
  11. Most MCQs have tickable options but in some tests, they may also give a question with a small space where the student has to write one or two words answer using the keyboard.
  12. In the case of long descriptive questions, a large empty box is given after each question. Using the mouse and keyboard, the student has to write a detailed (having several paragraphs) explanatory answer in that box. There is also a small text editor with the box so that the student can change the font size and style if they want.
  13. Remember, you can go to any page (back or next) until you have finally submitted the test. You can use the BACK and NEXT button if you want to go back to some page to attempt an attempted question or to edit any of your answers. There is also a small box on a side of each page which, when clicked, opens to show the numbers of the pages. From this list, you can straight select any page you want to go to directly. This list of pages also shows the pages where question have been left un-attempted. For any page with an un-attempted question, its number shows an asterisk symbol (*).
  14. Remember, the above point is very important. It is better to first attempt all these questions which you can easily attempt. If you don’t know the answer of a question, do not stick to it wasting all the time on it. Skip it for now and move to the next question. You can come back to the un-attempted questions once you have attempted all the easy questions.
  15. When you complete all parts of your test and want to finish the test, go to the last page. At the bottom of the last page, you will see a button such as FINISH or SUBMIT THE TEST. When you click it, your test is finished.
  16. Remember. a few online MCQs tests may display your result right after you click on FINISH. However, most tests (particularly when they have long questions to be assessed by a human) results are sent to your email a few days after the test is attempted. Best of luck!