In Fall 2012, several colleges began requiring students to complete selected exams using ExamSoft’s online test administration software, SofTest. Like Blackboard, ExamSoft allows students to take exams using their own Mac or PC laptop. However, SofTest offers some advantages over Blackboard and other testing environments, particularly for high-stakes exams such as midterms and finals:
- It provides a secure browser that locks the student into the test environment. Access to the Internet and other applications are blocked for the duration of the exam
- Students can continue to take the exam offline, even if connectivity is lost before the test has ended. Student results are saved to their local computer and uploaded to the ExamSoft server when connectivity is re-established.
Logging in and Installing SofTest
Each college that uses ExamSoft has specific protocols for accessing the test environment. Your college will provide you with the appropriate URL to access your custom ExamSoft Home Page, and how to log in as an “Exam Taker”. The following screen shot from the College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific shows a typical Home Page for exam takers.
Once you are logged in you can determine if your laptop meets the minimum technical requirements. If you are a first-time user, you will need to download the SofTest application to your computer. You will then be directed to register SofTest using the username and password provided. Note: If you download SofTest last year, you will still need to re-register the software this year. Annual registration ensures that the users in the ExamSoft system are still current users.
Once you have completed the ExamSoft download and registration process, do not make any changes to the configuration of your laptop computer. This includes any automatic updates to virus protection software.
Once your registration is confirmed, you will receive two items:
- Email confirmation that registration was successful
- A link to instructions on how to complete the Mock Exam
Completing the Mock Exam before the first official exam date is important, as it will confirm your laptop is compatible with SofTest and give you an opportunity to familiarize yourself with how to open, write and upload answer files.
Once you’ve successfully completed these initial setup procedures, you can download exams whenever directed to do so by your instructor.
- Double-click the SofTest icon
- Download the exam file
- Click the Launch SofTest button.
You can also take a Practice exam at any time by clicking the Practice Exam button.
For a summary of key procedures, click the link to download ExamSoft’s SofTest Quick Reference Guide.
Before Exam Day
- Ensure that: (1) there is plenty of free hard drive space, (2) your PC is virus free, and (3) you read the PC preparation tips provided at https://stagewp.examsoft.com/estips.
- Familiarize yourself with the software by utilizing the built-in Practice Exam feature.
- Ensure that your computer’s internal clock has the correct date. To verify date & time, double-click the clock in the lower-right corner of your screen.
- Ensure that all necessary Windows update are installed so that the exam is not delayed by the computer installing updates.
Exam Day Tips
- Bring your laptop and power cord
- Bring your Exam Taker ID & Password (if not using your WesternU account)
- Connect to the Internet shortly after the test to upload your answer file
You college may provide you with specific instructions on how to access SofTest and prepare for the exam. If you experience any probolems with the Mock Exam, or have any concerns about whether your laptop is compatible with SofTest, contact Technical Support at firstname.lastname@example.org well before the exam date.
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