Recommended Settings for Blackboard Exams

When administering an exam in Blackboard, there is a wide variety of settings that can be implemented to adjust the flexibility, visibility, formatting, and academic integrity for your test.

The following options are recommended to help reduce the risk of student technical issues when administering a test in Blackboard:

Getting Started

Once a test has been created in Blackboard, it will need to be added into a content area or course folder so that students can access it. To do so, navigate to the area of the course where you would like to deploy your test, then click on Create Assessment > Test. Select your test from the list of options that appears, then click Submit to proceed to the Test Settings. If you do not see your test listed, it may have already been added to another course location. You also have the opportunity to create one from scratch from the same page.

Test Options

Open test in new window

We recommend leaving this option set to No. If any students have browser settings that block pop-up windows, setting this option to Yes may prevent the test from opening on their browsers.

Make available to students

This setting functions like an “On/Off” switch for your exam. If you plan to use an assessment in your course, this option should always be set to Yes.

To continue hiding a test until a future date, turn this setting to Yes, but be sure to configure a Display After date and time under the Display Dates section.

Multiple attempts

Checking this option will allow the student to take the test multiple times. Multiple attempts are recommended if an assessment is intended to be a low-stakes “knowledge check” or a self-assessment. For higher-stakes tests, this setting should be set to No.

Force Completion

Do not use this setting. Force Completion has led to significant technical difficulties and unexpected interruptions to online exams.

When Force Completion is enabled, students cannot exit the test and re-enter it at a later time—instead, they must complete the assessment in one sitting. This may sound like a good idea in theory, but Force Completion will lock a student out of the test if there is any unexpected interruption to their exam. In cases where a student accidentally closes their browser, their computer crashes, or their internet connection is disrupted, they will not be able to finish their in-progress exam. In cases like these, the only solution is to allow the student to start the test over.

Set Timer

Instead of Force Completion, using Blackboard’s timer feature can help ensure that students finish the exam in a single sitting. To enable the timer, click the Set Timer checkbox and enter the time-limit in the “minutes” field.

When the timer is enabled, students will see the allotted time before beginning the test, and a count-down will be visible to them during the test period. Enabling the timer will also allow you to see how long students took to complete their test. The timer continues to count down regardless of student activity, so there is no way to stop or delay the timer.

In almost all cases, we recommend turning Auto-Submit ON. This will force the test to submit automatically once the student has reached the maximum time allotted.

If Auto-Submit is OFF, students may continue working after they have reached the designated time-limit. A warning will display to the student once the time as expired, and students must choose whether to proceed with the exam or submit their in-progress attempt. Students have often misinterpreted this warning and clicked to submit their test when they wanted to continue reviewing their answers.

Display Dates

If you wish to limit the amount of time students have access to the exam link, use the Limit Availability settings in this section. The Display After date will hide the exam until the day and time that you designate. The Display Until date will make the exam unavailable to students again after the date and time that you designate.


This setting is usually not recommended. If you are requiring students to take the exam with Respondus Lockdown Browser, a password will be automatically generated. You should not change or give out this auto-generated password under any circumstances. Please contact the LeBow Instructional Technology team for more information about this option.

Test Availability Exceptions

The Test Exception feature in Drexel LEARN allows instructors to place specific parameters on individual students in the course during an exam or quiz. To use this setting, refer to the Adding Test Exceptions article in the LeBow knowledge base.

Due Dates

This setting is optional, depending on your preferences. Note that adding a due-date will not normally prevent students from turning in late submissions—however, their submissions will be flagged as “LATE” within the Blackboard grade center.

When a test has a due date, students will receive automatic email notifications indicating that the due date is approaching or if they have missed the due date entirely. If you plan to re-use your tests in subsequent terms, these due dates will need to be updated at the start of the term to prevent unnecessary email alerts of missed deadlines.

Do not allow students to start the test after the due date has passed is a sub-setting that prevents students from beginning the exam after the designated deadline.

Note: This setting to not allow students to start after the due date can cause problems if you have given certain students extensions on their exam deadlines. Instead, consider using the Display Until date to limit students’ ability to access the exam once the deadline has passed.

Self-Assessment Options

  • Include this Test in grade center score calculations should be turned ON if you would like the exam score to count toward your students’ total score in the course.

  • Hide results for this test completely from the instructor and the grade center should be turned OFF in most, if not all, cases. If this option is selected, the instructor will not be able to see any student grades, analyze results, or download grading details for the exam.Once enabled on a test or quiz, this setting cannot be changed without first deleting all student attempts.

Show Test Results and Feedback to Students

Test feedback and results can be configured based on your preferences.

  • When determines when students can view the results and feedback. This feedback can be given as soon as a student submits their answers, on a specific date, etc.

  • Score per question allows students to see how many points they received for each answer

  • Answers allows you to choose what information students can see about their answers

  • All answers shows all available answer choices

  • Correct indicate which answer choices were correct (this is the answer key)

  • Submitted shows all of a student’s submitted answers

  • Feedback allows students to see your written feedback for essay-style questions or static feedback if you provided that for multiple-choice questions.

  • Incorrect shows the questions and the answer choices selected by students with an indication that the answer is incorrect.

Note: If you check NONE of the check-boxes, only the overall test scores for graded assessments will normally show in the students’ My Grades area.

By default, students will be able to see their overall score in the course’s My Grades area as soon as the exam has been graded. Scores will appear immediately for objective exams and after instructor grading for exams with subjective questions. If you would like to manually release exam scores to students, you can show or hide the grade column for your students. This action can also be made in the grade center itself using the pop-up menu for the column’s heading.

Test Presentation

  • All at once shows all test questions on a single page (this is the recommended setting)

  • One at a time shows questions one-at-a time. In this mode, students must click an arrow button to proceed to the next question, or to review previously answered questions.

  • Prohibit Backtracking prevents students from changing their responses once they have moved to the next question (this is not recommended and can cause additional student frustration in taking the exam)

  • Randomize questions scrambles the order of questions for each student’s exam attempt. Care should be taken to not turn this option on if you have multiple questions in a row that rely on the same information or data.

Depending on your preferences, you may find that certain settings work best for your course. The LeBow Instructional Technology team can work with you to identify and implement these options for your test.