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What's the difference between a test and a survey?

Instructors use tests to assess your knowledge of course content and objectives. Your instructor assigns point values to questions in a test. You submit your test for grading and the results are recorded. You can view your grades when your instructor makes them available to you.

Instructors can use surveys for polling purposes and evaluations. Surveys aren't graded, but they do appear as complete or incomplete. Your responses to survey questions are anonymous.

Where do I access tests and surveys?

You can find tests and surveys in any content area, learning module, lesson plan, or folder.

Watch a video about tests

The following narrated video provides a visual and auditory representation of some of the information included on this page. For a detailed description of what is portrayed in the video, open the video on YouTube, navigate to More actions, and select Open transcript.

Video: Test overview provides an overview of tests in Blackboard Learn.

Tips for taking a test

Start your test as soon as you can. If your instructor makes a test available for three days, plan to take the test early on the first day. If you have an issue, you'll have time to contact technical support and your instructor.

Read all of the instructions. If you have any trouble with your test or understanding test questions, contact your instructor immediately.

Check your internet connection.

  • A wired connection is usually more reliable than a wireless connection.
  • Check with your instructor and institution before you take a test with a cellular data connection. Most institutions will advise you to avoid a cellular data connection. Exceptions: Your institution is a Blackboard mobile-enabled site with the Blackboard app available and your instructor has created a mobile-compatible test.

Don't refresh the page, close the window, or use the browser's back button while you take a test. If you have problems during a test, contact your instructor immediately.

Take a test or survey

Navigate to the test or survey and select the title. On the next page, select Begin. Your instructor might require that you type a password to begin. If necessary, type the password and select Submit. The system continues to prompt for a valid password until you provide the correct one.

Don't use the browser's back button during a test or survey as this may cause loss of data. If you have problems during a test, contact your instructor immediately.

Take Test or Survey page

View the details. At the top of each test or survey, you can view the information about multiple attempts, the timer, navigation, and an optional description and instructions. You're also informed if you must complete the test or survey after you open it. Select the arrows next to the information section to collapse or expand it.

More on forced completion and no backtracking

If your test or survey is timed, you're informed of the instructor's choice. The timer status bar keeps you updated on the time left.

  1. Auto-submit: The test or survey saves and submits automatically when time expires. The Submitted page appears.


  2. Continue beyond the time limit: You receive no automatic penalty if you continue beyond the time limit. However, final scoring decisions are made by your instructor. Talk to your instructor if you have questions about this setting. The total time you spend on the test or survey is recorded and available to your instructor when you submit.

    If you save and exit, the timer continues to run. For example, you start on Tuesday, save and exit, and then complete the test on Thursday. The timer will show that you took 48 hours to complete.

View completed questions. The Question Completion Status section displays a saved icon for each question you have answered. You can select a question number to jump to that question. Select the arrows next to the status section to collapse or expand it.

Clear your Multiple Choice answer. If you're unsure of your selection on a Multiple Choice question, you may double-click to clear your answer choice.

Your answers are auto-saved. You can also select Save Answer next to each question or Save All Answers as you work. When you save an answer, Saved appears in the question's row.

Ready to submit? When you're finished, select Save and Submit. You may see your score immediately if all questions are auto-graded and your instructor releases this information. However, your instructor must manually grade some question types such as Essays.

More on grades and feedback

View a test question with a rubric

If your instructor associated a rubric with an Essay, File Response, or Short Answer question, select View Rubric. You can view the grading criteria before you answer the question.

Timer status bar

When you take a timed test or survey, the remaining time appears on a status bar. Use the arrows next to the timer to collapse or expand it.

Timer warnings appear when half the time, 5 minutes, 1 minute, and 30 seconds remain. When the remaining time reads 1 minute, 30 seconds, the status bar turns yellow. At 1 minute, the warning is red, and at 30 seconds, both the status bar and the warning are red. If you collapse the timer, you won't see the color changes.

Presentation options

In the test or survey information section, you're informed about which presentation options your instructor chose.

If force completion is enabled, you must complete the test or survey the first time you open it. You can't exit and continue the test or survey later. The Save option is available for you to save your answers, but you can't exit and re-enter.

If backtracking is prohibited, you can't go back to questions you have already answered. An error appears when you attempt to use the Back option within the test or survey.

Your instructor can choose to present questions all-at-once or one-at-a-time.

All-at-once presents all of the questions at the same time. These options are available:

  • Store answers. Select Save All Answers. The Question Completion Status section displays a saved icon for each question you have answered. You may change answers after you save them.
  • Finish the test or survey. Select Save and Submit. You receive a confirmation and a receipt page that states that the test or survey is completed.

A one-at-a-time test presents questions separately. Only one question appears on the screen at a time. You decide when you're ready to move on to the next question. These options are available:

  • Navigate through questions. Use the navigation arrows (<<, <, >, or >>). The Question Completion Status section shows the current location in the test and the overall number of questions. When backtracking is prohibited, the arrows don't appear.
  • Save answers. Select Save All Answers. Questions you answered up to this point are saved.
  • Finish the test or survey. Select Save and Submit. You receive a confirmation and a receipt page that states that the test or survey is completed.

Retake a test or survey

When you first open a test or survey, you're informed if you have multiple attempts. If your instructor placed a limit on the number of attempts, the number is stated. You can also see which attempt you're starting.

When you return to a test or survey to start another submission, you can see how many attempts exist and how many you've used.

Your instructor decides which test attempt score is recorded for your grade such as the average of all attempts or the highest attempt score.

Grades and feedback

The majority of questions in tests are auto-graded. Your instructor defines the correct answers and assigns points to each question. The system validates your answers and assigns the score.

Essay, File Response, and Short Answer questions aren't auto-graded. Your instructor must manually grade these question types. Grades for tests with these question types are released after your instructor finishes grading and allows it.

Your instructor can use a rubric for grading an Essay, File Response, or Short Answer question and make the rubric available to you. Select View Rubric when you review the graded test to view the grading criteria for the question.

You may see your score immediately after you complete the test if all questions are auto-graded and your instructor releases this information. Your instructor may choose a date in the future to release test scores while your classmates take the test.

After you complete a test, the performance results you receive depend on the options selected by your instructor. For example, your instructor may only show the final score for one test, while for another test the final score and correct answers are displayed. Feedback includes one or more of these items:

  • Final score for the test
  • Answers submitted
  • Correct answers
  • Feedback for the questions

To access feedback and grade information, select the test in the content area or My Grades. On the View Attempts page, select the grade link in the Calculated Grade column to access the test, your answers, and any instructor feedback.

More on grades