Why are we being asked to write exams on computers?
Writing exams on computers has many advantages
- It more closely simulates an assignment in a professional environment. Once you graduate, you will be asked to quickly assemble analysis and recommendations into reports and presentations (it’s unlikely that you’ll be asked to write professional reports by hand).
- Using a computer will allow you to be able to organize your report sections into a logical flow and edit them as a unified document, regardless of what order you originally write the sections. You can also cut, copy, and paste, and otherwise generally edit the document to ensure content flow, avoid repetition as well as re-ordering information to emphasize your arguments and logic.
- The HBA program has historically had exams on computers and only in recent years have HBA1 exams not been written on computers. Computers were removed from exams because of concerns about exam environment integrity. With the SofTest program, we can be assured of integrity for all students during computer exams.
How can I learn more about SofTest features before my exam?
- The SofTest website has a very useful FAQ page (http://support.examsoft.com/link/portal/15157/15194/ArticleFolder/9/Got-Questions-We-have-answers)
- Also, a mock exam has been set up for you which you can enter at any time to gain familiarity with the environment. We strongly encourage you to gain familiarity with the environment using the mock test (http://support.examsoft.com/link/portal/15157/15194/Article/606/How-do-I-download-a-mock-exam).
If I am writing my exam using the computer, can I still use a booklet for some parts of the exam?
- Booklets will be available for all students. You will likely need to use a combination of a booklet and the computer. Tables, charts, complex calculations, timelines, process flow diagrams, etc. you may wish to create to support your answers must be produced in a booklet. The software doesn't have tables or graphing features. In addition, just as always, you can use booklets to organize your thoughts, take case notes, and as ‘scratch’ paper.
Can I write my exam exclusively by hand?
- Yes, you can write your exam by hand (in a booklet) instead of on the computer. We recommend that you choose to write your exam on the computer.
If I start writing by hand, can I switch to computer part way through?
- No. If you think you might want to write some of your exam on computer, set up your computer in at the beginning of the exam.
How do I do numbers, will I have excel?
- This software does not support excel or tables. You will have a word processor file and a very simple calculator as part of the software on the exam. Please note that the calculator has limited functionality.
How should my exam be organized?
- You can format your exam similar to the way you would format it in a written exam. You may wish to make notes in the exam booklet and use the exam booklet to present tables, charts, and calculations. You can use the computer for text responses to the exam questions and refer to tables/exhibits in the booklet.
How should my exam be formatted?
- Spend your time doing your analysis, organizing your arguments, writing and editing your report. Do not focus on gratuitous formatting (font changes, highlighting, etc.) The only formatting that will be preserved by printing is bold, italics, underline, and page breaks. The font, font size, and highlighting will not print. (All exams will be printed in Arial Size 12)
How do I save my exam while I am writing?
- There is also an autosave feature built into SofTest. Your exam is being automatically saved to your hard-drive every 60 seconds. There is also a “save” button that you can use while writing the exam, but it is not necessary to manually save your exam.
What advice do you have for how I should organize my exam – between software and booklet?
- Write the body of your document in SofTest and present Exhibits (Tables, Charts, Timelines, etc.) in your booklet.
- For example, “Market share in established sales regions is stable and nearly double that of less established regions (Case Exhibit 2). Therefore, in our 5 year financial projections we estimate that market share in the currently established regions will hold steady and that market share in the currently less established regions will double (Exhibit 1 in booklet).”
Where are various features in the software such as highlight?
- There will be a highlight button that will appear next to the Exit/Save button.
How does "undo" work?
- The undo function will undo up to the last 50 actions.
What if my computer crashes the night before exam?
- There will be a limited supply of back up laptops available that can be used in an emergency.
What if my computer crashes during the exam?
- Try restarting your computer. If your computer crashes while the software is running, your computer will restart in the software and will open the document using the last-saved version (with the autosave which happens every 1 minute). If this does not solve the problem, know that everything you have already written is safe on your computer and IT will recover it later. Inform the proctor of what has happened and continue writing your exam in an exam booklet .
Will I lose the portion that I've written if the computer crashes during an exam?
- The program is autosaving your document every 1 minute. You can also save more frequently by pressing the save button. If your computer crashes, only the material typed in the time since the last save will likely be lost.
What if my computer runs out of battery during the exam?
- Bring your power adapter to the exam so that you cannot run out of power. However, if this happens to you, when your computer shuts down because it runs out of power, know that everything you have already written is safe on your computer and IT will recover it later. Inform the proctor of what has happened and continue writing your exam in an exam booklet.
What if I get a new computer during the year?
- Go to the help desk and they will help you register a new device. Please do this more than a week before the exam so that you can do a mock exam in case the word processor environment looks different on your new computer.
How many back up computers will be available for use?
- There will be a limited supply of laptops available and typically arrangements must be made 48 hours in advance with IT.
How do exams ‘work’ – what are the rules? About food, music, etc.? How does the new software impact it?
- Prior to the exam, you will receive an email to download the empty exam “shell” into SofTest. Please do so by following the instructions here (http://support.examsoft.com/link/portal/15157/15194/Article/37/How-do-I-download-an-exam-file).
- On the exam day, as usual, before you enter the exam room proctors will have distributed (face down) the exam assignment and a booklet for each student. When you enter the room, set up your computer, shut down any other software you have running, open SofTest, enter your Exam ID and password, and choose to “Take an Exam”. (http://support.examsoft.com/link/portal/15157/15194/Article/43/How-do-I-take-an-exam)
- Once you reach a screen that says “STOP” and SofTest asks you to type “Begin” wait for the proctor to check that all students have reached this phase. Once the proctor has checked that all students have reached this phase, he or she will announce that you can begin your exam (you can now turn over your Case and assignment questions, AND you can type “Begin” to open the SofTest word processor.
- When you are done writing your exam and wish to submit. Hit the “Exit & Save button”, then choose to “Close the Exam”. (http://support.examsoft.com/link/portal/15157/15194/Article/679/How-to-upload-exams-using-SofTest-Mac) The software will then return your computer to its normal environment, connect you to the internet, and upload your exam. Sit quietly during this time. If the first attempt to upload is unsuccessful, hit “retry”. If your second attempt to upload is unsuccessful, notify the proctor, sit quietly and retry again in a few minutes.
- All other exam etiquette remains the same. As always, you should be respectful of all other exam takers in your actions. Earplugs are allowed should you have any concerns about noise in the room.
Can I use an external keyboard and a mouse?
- Bluetooth and USB keyboards work, but must be paired and working before launching SofTest. If this is something that you feel you need, please test your system with the software prior to exam day.