Friday, May 5, 2017

Computer Based Testing

Notebook, Laptop, ComputerThe world is changing and has been changing quite a lot in terms of testing.  Most tests are now computer based so the old fall back advice such as "Do all the ones you know how to do first, then go back and do the ones you sort of know and save the ones you have no idea how to do for last."

Not all computer based tests allow that.  So what advice is there for people taking computer based tests?  I checked that topic out so I can share it with you.

Lets look at multiple choice questions because those are the most likely type you will end up taking.  Usually there is one correct and three wrong answers of which two wrong answers are based on the most likely wrong answers testers will have.

There are two types of computer based tests.  The first is the computer based test (CBE) which is just a paper test that has been computerized so you can move through forward or backwards as you need to.  You select an answer rather than bubble so there is a lot more freedom.  The other is the computer adaptive test (CAT) where the answer from one question often impacts the next questions.  In other words, your answer determines whether you get a harder or easier question next. 

In a CBE, you can go skip and go back to unanswered questions while you cannot do that in a CAT where you must always move forward.  Here are some things students can do to help them have better results.

1.  Use scratch paper.  Scratch paper allows you to jot down information and have it all in one place.  Sometimes the tester does not have all the information in one place on the screen so you don't have to scroll up or down.

2. Study the sample test before taking the real test.  Most every computer based test provides small sample tests that can be taken before the big day. These allow testers to have a chance to become familiar with the test so on the day, the tester has less anxiety.

3. If the test is timed, it is important to pay attention to the clock so you don't spend too much time on any one question.  If its not timed, this is not a problem.

4. When you take a practice test, take it with a ticking clock so you get used to the clock being on the screen.  By doing this, you eliminate a potential distraction on the day the of the test.

5. Work hard on getting the first 10 questions correct because some tests put the most emphasis on those questions.

6.  Research how the test scores the questions so you know that ahead of time.

7. Pay close attention to the directions.

8. Options with absolutes such as "Always" or "Never" are usually incorrect.

9. Get enough sleep the night before.

These are the current recommendations for taking computer based tests.  As you can see, the type of test determines whether you can go back or must forge a head.  It seems that more and more tests are becoming adaptive rather than straight computer based so one must pay close attention to the questions.

Let me know what you think.  I'd love to hear from others.