Support from FASE's Education Technology Office

Am I ready for my online assessment?

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If you are taking an online assessment (test, quiz, exam) in Quercus, there are some technical strategies you can take advantage of to make the assessment-taking process go as smoothly as possible.  Many of these tips involve preparation and your best strategy is to spend some time well before the scheduled assessment to ensure you're prepared to take the assessment.

This guide offers tips on things you can do to get ready for the assessment and while taking the assessment. It also outlines where to get help if you do run into technical issues with your assessment.

For additional tips, review Six remote learning tips for U of T students and the Quercus Support Resources  Student Guide.

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Can't login to Quercus? For problems with your UTORid and password, contact Information Commons Help Desk (check available hours of service).  

1. Getting ready for the assessment

Here are some things to consider to get ready to take the assessment:

1.1. Get yourself ready

Prepare yourself for the assessment by doing the following:

Review assessment instructions

Ensure you understand the assessment instructions provided by the instructor. If there's something you don't understand, now is the time to ask.

  • Is there a time-limit for the assessment? 
  • Is there a time window during which the assessment is available? 
  • Where will you access the assessment? (e.g., is it in a Module, or can you find it in the Quizzes or Assignments menu? 
  • Are there any special instructions for submissions? (e.g., if submitting written work, is there a specific file format required, like .docx, .pdf, or .jpg?) 
  • Who can you contact if you have a question during the assessment? 
  • How can you contact them? (e.g., discussion forum, email)
  • Who can you contact if you experience technical issues such as internet connectivity problems or a power outage?
Get clarification by talking with your teaching team

If there are things you are unsure of, get clarification before the date of the assessment by:

  • Attending office hours offered by instructors and/or TAs
  • Posting questions to a discussion board Q & A, if available in your course
  • Contacting your instructor or TA directly by email, Quercus Inbox, or other method specified by them as appropriate
Request required accommodations 

Contact the Accommodated Testing Services Office for any required accommodations (with enough lead time)

Use a calendar reminder

Put a reminder in your personal calendar with the assessment due date and time (make sure you select the appropriate time for your time zone)

Plan to complete your assessment earlier rather than later If your instructor gives you several hours or longer to complete the assessment, plan to complete it near the beginning of that availability period. Avoid waiting until the last minute to do it. If you run into technical problems, it's less likely they can be solved at that point.  
Take practice assessments Complete any practice assessment your instructor has made available. This will help you become familiar with the assessment format as well as the submission process.
Review available student guides for the assessment you will be taking See for example, the following guides: 

1.2. Get your computer ready

Check that your computer meets the recommended technology requirements:
Check for basic computer and browser specifications Review the minimum technology requirements for:
Do a browser check Do a browser check to ensure you meet the recommended browser specifications. 
  • Consider saving the unique URL generated from your browser check - this may help for troubleshooting if you run into technical difficulties during the assessment.
  • For best user experience, use the latest version of Firefox or Google Chrome browsers.
Disable ad and pop-up blockers and other plug-ins/extensions Ad and pop-up blockers, and other browser extensions may interfere with the normal functioning of Quercus. Be sure to disable these before the assessment. Also disable any translation tools (such as Google Translate) in your browser’s tool bar.
  • Compare your access to Quercus using a regular browser window versus an incognito/private browser window.
  • If you are able to view and participate in Quercus in the private browser window but have difficulties when using a regular browser window, this discrepancy is likely due to browser plug-ins/extensions.
Disable translation tools Disable any translation tools (such as Google Translate) in your browser’s tool bar. They may cause your assessment text responses to appear in a language other than English even if you entered them in English.
Make sure your operating system is up-to-date Check for any updates before the day of the assessment. An update while you are taking the assessment may try to restart your computer.
Plan to use a desktop or laptop computer (not a phone or tablet) Using a mobile device (phone or tablet) for taking and assessment in Quercus does not offer the same level of functionality, reliability, or security as using a desktop or a laptop computer.  It is strongly recommended that you complete your assessments on a desktop or laptop.  
Plan to use a wired internet connection  It's best to use an ethernet (wired-in) connection instead of Wi-Fi. If a wired-in connection is not possible, ensure your Wi-Fi connection is available.  
Ensure that you can log into Quercus If you experience difficulty logging into Quercus, check that your UTORid and password are correct by following the directions on the guide:

DO NOT use the Canvas Student app to take an assessment - it is not supported by U of T.

2. Taking the assessment

For the best possible experience when taking your assessment:
Check your computer before starting the assessment Log in early Log into Quercus before the assessment availability window opens to ensure your computer is working.
Check your internet connection If possible, use an ethernet (wired-in) connection instead of Wi-Fi. If a wired-in connection is not possible, ensure your Wi-Fi connection is available. 
Use a recommended browser Make sure you take the assessment with a recommended browser.
Close all other windows and applications Open only the Quercus Quiz or Assignment browser window. Do not have any other browser windows or programs open while taking your assessment as these can interfere with your assessment.  
Take the assessment Open your Quiz or Assignment in only one browser/device If you open a Quiz or Assignment in multiple browsers, multiple devices, or in more than one tab/window in the same browser, your answers may not be saved or submitted.
Wait for the assessment to load Avoid clicking on the assessment link more than once- be patient and wait for it to load.
Review any special instructions from your instructor Read over the assessment details/description.
Check availability window and time limits Review the assessment availability window and any time limits for the assessment.
  • Quizzes: If the scheduled availability date and time occur while you are taking a quiz, the quiz will automatically submit.
  • Assignments: If the scheduled availability date occurs before you submit to an Assignment, you will not be able to submit your files.
Don't close your assessment browser window Avoid closing the browser window while you are completing the assessment.
Don't use browser buttons to navigate the assessment Use only Quercus navigation buttons, DO NOT use browser Back, Forward or Home buttons.
Don't refresh your page or maximize/minimize your browser window Re-sizing, maximizing, or minimizing the assessment’s browser window after beginning the assessment will cause the page to refresh .
Submit the assessment Leave yourself enough time to upload submission files If submitting handwritten work, leave enough time to take photos/scan your work, ensure legibility, upload to your computer, and submit.
Review and save your answers before submitting
Once you are satisfied with your answers, click the Submit button.
  • Submit only once- do not click the Submit button repeatedly.
Plan ahead for possible connectivity issues
Save a local copy of your work files
Answer any questions requiring a text-entry response offline (i.e.,  in a Word document) and then copy and paste the answers into the assessment when you are ready to submit. If you lose internet connectivity, you will still have a copy of your work.
Take screen shots
Save screenshots of submission notifications, error messages, and of any issues you are experiencing. 

3. Getting help

If you experience technical issues, such as loss of internet  connectivity, note the following:

If you need additional help:

  1. Notify your instructor right away if you run into difficulties. Submit any documentation of the issue you experiences, as directed by your instructor. Try to have the following information ready:
    • Date and time problem you experienced the problem
    • Brief description of the issue
    • Operating system (e.g., Windows 10, Mac OS), browser, and type of connection (e.g., wired, wi-fi) you were using  
    • Any screenshots you have taken
  2. Submit the assessment in an alternate way, if directed to do so by your instructor.

Can't login to Quercus? For problems with your UTORid and password, contact Information Commons Help Desk (check available hours of service).  

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