Blackboard Tests for Exams creation guidelines (Staff)

Blackboard Tests for Exams 

  • Create, edit and organise your questions 
  • Create the Test 
  • Deploy the Test 
  • Take and check the Test 


Question Pools 

A question pool is a collection of questions that can be re-used in multiple tests and in other modules. They are an effective way of organising your questions, for example, by topics.    

To access the question pools in your module, go to the Control Panel > Course Tools > Tests, Surveys and Pools, and click on Pools. 


Here you will see any existing question Pools. From this area you can edit or export any existing pools and create or import a new pool. 


Creating/ Editing Questions 

To create, or edit questions within a pool, click on the downward arrow next to the name of the Pool and select Edit. 

Here you will see any existing questions in the Pool. Change the Question Display to see the Full Text of the question.  

From this area you can re-name your pool, create new questions, add questions from another pool, and edit and delete existing questions.  



Creating New Questions  

Click on the Create Question tab and select the question type you want to add. Please see the Blackboard guidance for detailed information about each question type and how to create them.    

If you are copying text from another source into the question text, it is important to first copy it into a plain text document (such as Notepad), to strip out any formatting and ensure that your questions display properly.  

You can add images into question text using the Insert Image button in the text editor area.  


Creating a Test 

When you have finished editing your question pools you can build your Test. Return to the Tests, Surveys and Pools area from the Control Panel and select Tests 

Here you will see any existing Tests in the module. 

To create a new test select Build Test. 

  • Give the Exam an appropriate name that allows for easy identification.  
  • Give the Exam a description. Your students will see this. 

From this area you can select questions from your question Pools. Go to the Reuse Question tab and select Find Questions. 

Click on a pool from the Criteria drop-down list to search for questions.  

  • You can select relevant questions from any of the pools and tests listed.  
  • You can add all questions from a particular pool (please note that you will need to click the Show All button at the bottom of the page to select all questions if there is more than one page).  
  • You can search for a particular question in the search box.  


When you have selected all of the relevant questions, click Submit at the bottom of the page. 

You will see the Test listed in the Tests area. You can edit the Test again by clicking on the downward arrow next to the test name and selecting Edit 


Deploying a Test 

Once you have built your test, it will need to be deployed in the correct location in your module, with the appropriate test settings for exam conditions.  

Location and creating a link to the Exam 

  • The Exam should always be under Assessment and Feedback on the module that is to be assessed.  
  • If this module is parent-childed, you should always build the assessment in the parent module. 
  • Create a link to the exam: 
  • Hover over the Assessments tab in Assessment and Feedback  
  • Select Test from the dropdown menu 
  • Select the Test that you want your students to take from the available tests in the module and click Submit 


  • Edit the Test information as per the Test Options section below and click Submit. 
  • Move the exam to the top of the page within the content area. 

Test Options 


  • Give the Exam an appropriate name that allows for easy identification.  
  • Give the Exam a description. Your students will see this. 
  • Show Instructions to students before they begin the test - TICK 
  • Open test in new window – NO 


  • Make the link available – YES (ensure that you set the time and date for the Display After and Until option below, or the exam will become instantly available) 
  • Add a new announcement for this test – NO 
  • Multiple Attempts – UNTICK 
  • Force Completion – UNTICK 
  • Set Timer – AS YOU DEEM APPROPRIATE. (You can set a timer to limit students’ completion time. You can set the timer to auto-submit the test when the timer ends or allow students to continue working and manually submit.)
  • Display After and Until - TICK both. 
  • Set the date for the date of the exam. 
  • Set the time for 30 minutes before the exam is due to start, and 30 minutes after the last student will have finished (including extra time candidates). Access is controlled by password so students cannot access the exam outside of the exam venue. 
  • Require password – leave blank for now. The E-learning Group will set this up for the exam. 


DO NOT set Test Availability Exceptions 


DO NOT set a Due Date 


Include this Test in Grade Centre Score Calculations – TICK 


UNTICK all boxes. 


  • One at a time- TICK 
  • DO NOT Prohibit Backtracking 
  • Randomise Questions – TICK (due to the close proximity of monitors in exam rooms), unless questions follow in a specific order and build on the previous answer. 

In the Grade Centre 

The Test will automatically create a new column in the Grade Centre for student marks. This will need to be hidden from students until marks are ready to be released: 

  • Hide test column – click on arrow next to column name in Grade Centre and select Hide from Students 
  • Hide Total column - click on arrow next to column name in Grade Centre, Edit Column Information, Show this Column to Students: NO 

Taking and checking the Test 

Once you have deployed your test it is important to try it out yourself and access the results to fully test it as a student.  

It is also recommended that a member of staff (or PG student) who is not as familiar with the content of the exam takes the test, to spot any issues that the lecturer may not (for example, with timing).    

Taking the Test 

  • Click on the link to the exam you created when deploying the test and click Begin 
  • Once you have answered all questions click the Save and Submit button.  
  • Click OK to view the results.  

When taking the test and viewing the results, check the following points: 

  • The accuracy, clarity and comprehensibility of the question and possible answers. 
  • The questions cover all relevant topics and sub-topics.  
  • The difficulty level of the exam. 
  • The skill levels being tested (higher order thinking or just knowledge recall?)  
  • The feasibility of the exam timing. 
  • The wrong answers are plausible. 
  • The question does not give away the correct answer (e.g. wording or grammatical cues). 
  • The marks and scores are set correctly (check any questions you answered incorrectly). 
  • The correct answers are set.  
  • Spelling and grammar. 
  • The formatting of the exam is standard and the questions and images display properly (see the above section on Creating New Questions for formatting issues). 
Contact for this page:
Information Services, Aberystwyth University, Hugh Owen Library, Penglais, Aberystwyth, SY23 3DZ
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