Computer Based Tests: Benefits and How to Prepare For Them
Almost every examination today has become computer-based. Though the traditional pen and paper tests haven't gone out of the picture completely, almost all exams are conducted online. Some offer both options but tests like IELTS, SAT and JEE are fully computer-based.
Unlike the popular belief, computer tests are beneficial to students, while considerably reducing the burden on evaluating personnel. Here are 10 advantages of CBT's (Computer Based Tests) and a few tips on how to prepare for them.
Option to take multiple tests
CBT's allow students to take multiple short and reliable tests throughout the term of a course. This helps students identify the areas in which they are required to improve. When students consistently take small tests, they understand what and how to study with added concentration.
These tests evaluate the performance of the student immediately and some exams are also designed in such a way that the ranks too are published along with the grade as soon as the candidate finishes the exam. This helps the students improve upon their area of lacking.
Due to the growing technology, students can avail personalised tests based on the coursework most recently completed by them or in topics where they need to focus more. The level of difficulty of each question can be modulated depending on the learner’s previous responses.
There are questions to which no one answer is right. This opens up the possibility of different answers for a question. Such open-ended questions can be evaluated by the computer accurately. On questions like these, chances are that the evaluator is biased to one kind of answer. The computer does not bias and grades appropriately. Simple rubric extensions, like Orange Slice or Google Sheets add-ons, automate the scoring of rubrics and communication to students.
While traditional tests do not provide or even allow feedback, computer-based tests almost always have a section dedicated to feedback. The queries range from the quality of the questions in the test to the ease of usability of the software. This feedback is efficiently utilised to improvise the testing experience for the students.
For students with a disability, computer-based tests have proven to be a boon. For example, screen readers, magnification tools, and text-to-voice or voice-to-text applications can help learners with visual, auditory, and motor impairments; learners with dyslexia; and learners who simply need more time to complete a test. With universally designed computer-based tests, exams are open for everybody without prejudice.
Every student gets a different question paper. Even if the questions are same, the order of questions and the order of options for questions, unfortunately for the students, are jumbled up. This saves the instructor of the tedious policing job to ensure no malpractices are taking place. Plagiarism checkers, like Turnitin, Safe Exam Browser and Chrome browser testing apps like Edulastic can also help to lock down browsers and make cheating more difficult.
Navigating through questions
With an index of questions shown at all times of the test, navigating through question has become an easy task. There are options of using markers on each question such as Review, Answered and Unanswered. These markers prove to be a very useful tool for the exam-takers.
Editing responses are no more about striking out line-by-line or erasing of that darkly shaded bubble on the OMR sheet. It is just a few taps. Changing answers has been simplified through computer-based exams. This has revolutionised the way students see tests, for a mistake can be corrected without a fuss now.
Lastly, but of most importance, computer-based tests are much more eco-friendlier than paper and pen tests. Now, we do not preach that computer-based tests are a 100% eco-friendly - they use a considerable amount of energy too - but, in the light of deforestation and how big of an issue that it, computer-based tests are an improvement. For a sustainable future, we must take this small step.
To each, their comforts and choices. We do not recommend one option over the other but those points above are just the pros of a computer-based test. Some people find it easier working with a pen and a piece of paper, which is acceptable. However, if you prefer keyboards and mouses over pens and pencils for a nerve-wracking exam, here are a few tips to excel in it.
Charge your devices
Make sure whichever device you are using is charged fully. Sometimes, you are given the liberty to use your own devices. Always be sure to plug it in the day before to avoid last-minute stress and anxiety. If unfortunately, some disaster does happen, you might lose your zest in taking up the test.
Say "NO" to distractions
If you are taking a test from a classroom or a work environment, this would be an easy task to accomplish. If you are taking a test at home, 'multi-tasking' can be very tempting to do and at some point, we all give in to the temptation. There is nothing wrong with multi-tasking but it is not particularly recommended that you multitask while taking a test. Keeping distractions to a minimum will greatly help you remain focused on your Test.