Computer Based Test (CBT) is a modern testing procedure where each examinee answers their question directly on a computer.

Its a bit different from the traditional way of testing where individuals will have to answer their questions using a paper and a pencil or pen.

Computer Based Testing requires the examinee to have a grab on basic computer knowledge, which involves appreciation of common computer desktop icons,


basic mouse use, as well as understanding important navigation.

Apart from writing the exams on a computer, the arrangement of the exams with respect to timing and level of precision also differs with the conventional paper and pencil based testing. We are trying to paint the picture that based portray the pattern of computer based test to enable prospective candidates, notably first timers, to get the basic features of the computer based examination scenario.

Features of Computer Based Test.


  1. One-Student-One-Computer:

This testing system is based on one person per computer system at a particular time. As always expected of a good student, you are advised to enter the examination hall only with the approved examination materials. The candidate will sit close to the computer system, maybe a laptop computer


or a desktop computer.


The candidate will face the computer screen awaiting the invigilators command START.

Some Exams like the ones mostly administered by PEARSON are strictly on computer based while some others may be dual, i.e both computer and paper. In the latter, the students or examinee is given examination question paper and they will be required to answer their questions on the computer unlike the former, the students or the examinee are not given any question paper. Here the questions are on the computer screen while the examinee chooses their correct answers by right clicking the radio button.

  1. Computer Based Test Desktop, How does it look like?

All computer desktops contain icons for simple computer user interaction with the computer system. It uses the WYSIWYG theory. That means what you see is what you get.

Depending on the type of test, the computer screen might be preset to the START page where the examinee will just have to fill in their personal details which is sometimes part of the exams itself. No matter what exams it is, the basic icons that will be found in the screen will not be very far from what I will explain below in point number three.

  1. What are the notable desktop icons for Computer Based Test (CBT)?

(a) The START Button:

The time that every exam commences is the START period and the time that the exam ends is the STOP button.

Examinees should be very watchful of this button as it the paramount of all.

(b) Time and Progress:

Immediately when you click start, the clock timer begins to count, which indicates the progress of the exams.

This also indicates the time that is remaining for the exams. At any point of the exams, at least you should be able to see how much time remaining for you.

(c) Question Counter:

Just like the time counter, there is also questions timer.
This indicates how many questions you have answered and how many are remaining. So you will not likely be in a loop while writing computer based test.

For instance you are writing a 50 question exams and you are on the eleventh question, the question timer will indicate something like question 11 of 50. Meaning that you still have 39 questions unanswered.

Simple maths isnt it?

(d) Test Navigations:

This feature of a computer based test is as important as the test itself and they are always available on the test screen throughout the test session. Notable of the navigations are:

(1) NEXT which goes to the next question when clicked, clicking next moves you the next screen

(2) PREVIOUS this gives the examinee the opportunity to go back to earlier answered question, she they changed their mind towards the ostensibly correct answer.
Clicking PREVIOUS moves you back one screen.

(3) SUBMIT this is the most important of all the buttons, because there is nothing as bad as writing a test without submitting it. You will not have your score if you did not submit your test. Clicking submit button submits the test or exams and sometimes closes the exam window. This at times marks the STOP of the exams.

(e)The Scroll Bar:

Some test may not fit on the screen. For these questions, a scroll bar will appear.

To reveal the rest of the questions, either you use the mouse to click drag the scroll bar or click on the arrows on either end of the scroll bar.

How Do You Choose the Correct Answers?

Most times, the questions in computer based test are in the multi-choice format. This is called multi Choice Question where you will be required to pick the correct answer(s). For instance something like this appears on your screen:

Solve for y.
y  2 + 3y = 10
A. 6
B. 5
C. 4
D. 3
E. 2

You select one of the best answers by:

Pressing the letter on the keyboard, Clicking the radio button with a mouse, or Use the Tab Key to move through the options and then pressing the space-bar to select an option.

Select the next button to continue. Hope this write up gives you a brief overview of the pattern of computer based test.

So, as expected, if you read this article before the test, it means you have what it takes to succeed in your exams.

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