Take home online exams
Take-home online exams are open-book exams and allow flexibility to accommodate the different circumstances and needs of our students. Exams will be available for 23 hours in most cases, which means you can access and complete your paper at any time during this period, whenever suits you best – depending on your current time zone or around family life or any caring commitments, for example.
Information for students with time-restricted exams (Gradescope and Blackboard)
For some specific exams there may be a time restriction in place, which means once you have started your paper online (within the 23-hour window), it must be submitted within a specified time.
We have put arrangements in place to ensure we balance flexibility for the different circumstances of our students (for example, those with caring commitments, students living overseas, or internet connection issues), alongside the need to maintain academic integrity.
- You can access and start the time restricted exam at any point during the 23-hour online exam window. This gives you the flexibility to choose when in the day works best for you to set time aside to complete the paper.
- You will also have an additional 30 minutes at the end of every time-restricted exam where there is a requirement to scan and upload documents to do this once you have completed the paper (this will not apply for exams where no uploading is required – for example, for MCQ, Multiple Choice Question, tests). The time shown on the exam paper will include this additional 30 minutes.
- Students who would usually be granted reasonable adjustments (for example, extra time for exams) will have that time added to the duration of their exam, as well as the additional 30 minutes for scanning and uploading where applicable.
- If you are affected on the day by circumstances beyond your control (for example, significant connection issues, illness or interruptions) you can use our Extenuating Circumstances process to let us know so we can take this into consideration.
Preparing for take home online exams
You should set aside plenty of time to prepare and revise for your exams, as you would normally. We recognise that the current pandemic may make this difficult; please rest assured that we are here to support you to prepare for your examinations. Remember that our Student Welfare Team continue to be available online and by telephone to offer one-to-one appointments and advice.
We have provided some specific advice about this format of assessment to help you and it is your responsibility to ensure you can access what you need.
- Read our blog post and watch a video on how to revise and prepare, and explore our dedicated take home exams webpage.
- Take the opportunity to practise on the practice ‘take home’ exam area on Blackboard (under 'My Modules' on the 'My Blackboard' tab). You can get used to the system, work out the best arrangements for taking the exam in your current environment and test your internet connection.
- Make sure you can access Blackboard. If you are unable to do this, please email firstname.lastname@example.org using your University email address and quoting your candidate number (found on your exam timetable) and the module codes for your exam(s).
- Make sure you have access to your University of Reading OneDrive account and check your Remote Service Access. Saving files to your University OneDrive is the best way to ensure that your work is saved, and can be recovered, in case of an error. We strongly encourage you to read the DTS guide on Remote Service Access and One Drive.
- Make sure well in advance that you have set up Multi-Factor Authentication on your mobile device. If you have any problems with this, please contact DTS.
- You will be responsible for creating your own exam conditions. Try to plan your exam set-up in advance to make sure that you have a quiet comfortable place at home to take the exam. Tell your family/friends/flat mates that you have an exam so that you can take the exam uninterrupted. If you are unable to do this, please contact email@example.com.
- Study Advice guides
- Accessing e-resources
- Key resources for your subject
- Maths support
- Exams information and past papers
For specific questions about assessment on your programme, contact your Module Convenor or Support Centre.
On the day
Take-home online exams are open-book, time-limited exams, and allow flexibility to accommodate the different circumstances and needs of all our students. In most cases, the take home online exams will follow this process:
- The majority of exams will be open on Blackboard for 23 hours from 10.00am UK time to 09.00am UK time the following day.
- You will need to download the question paper from Blackboard and then complete it offline in Word, in most cases.
- You will then submit online through Turnitin or Blackboard, as you would normally for your assessments throughout the year.
- Please make sure you allow plenty of time to submit your work ahead of the submission deadline which closes for 23 hour online exams at exactly 9:00am UK time. Late submissions will not be allowed and you will receive a mark of zero.
- If your discipline requires diagrams, equations, sketches or similar, we recommend drawing these items by hand. You can then scan or take a photo of them (for example, using a smartphone) and insert the picture files into your submissions. Try to keep file sizes to a minimum, as much as possible. See Capture and insert images into a Word document for online submission.
- Where your answers will be entirely handwritten (for example for maths, science-based work, ancient and non-European languages) then you will need to scan or photograph your work and upload it to a submission point in Blackboard. Please read the steps you need to take to scan and submit your work.
- You will not need an internet connection for the full 23-hour period and are not expected to spend 23 hours completing your exam.
Your School will be in touch with you if there are any variations to this.
For further advice and to practice, please visit your take home exam practice area in Blackboard (under 'My Modules' on the 'My Blackboard' tab). and read our further guidance.
Please see more information in the following FAQs: