NAITSA: Locked Out Of An Exam. Now What?

by | Feb 5, 2021 | Arts & Life

By Alessandra Medeiros, Vice President Academic, NAITSA

Exams are here, and with them comes test anxiety, Murphy’s Law (“anything that can go wrong will go wrong”), and all the tech issues we never had before. More than ever, we depend so much on technology now. As much as it helps our learning and allows us to continue in school during a pandemic, it can also be why we fail an exam if we get locked out of the platform.

I hope you don’t experience any problems during an exam (fingers crossed), and I don’t want to scare you. However, we’ve seen it happen; that is why I encourage you to read over the following tips to get ready if you have to troubleshoot.

Tip #1 – Ask your instructor how the exam will be and on what platform (locked browser, Respondus, Mobius, Moodle?)

Ask everything! Can I use my notes? Will my camera have to be on? Will it be on a locked browser? How much time do I have to finish my exam? Do we all have a specific window of time to take the exam (like 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.), or will it be available over a 24-hour period?

Tip #2 – Ask for a mock exam.

A mock exam will help you understand how it will work, how a locked browser looks, and what it does to your screen. That will also help you check if your computer has any firewall or systems that slow down your technology or even locks you out of it (you don’t want to find out if it does during your exams).

Tip #3 – Ask the instructor what to do if you have a tech problem during the exam.

Ask your instructors what they suggest you do if you have a problem during your exam, like if the Moodle page does not refresh, if Respondus continues to lock your screen, or if your computer crashes. Ask if you should call them, message them on Teams, or contact NAIT IT support. If the exam is available over an extended period rather than just class time, ask if they will be online during a specific time. Try to coordinate that with when you will take your exam (just in case you need help, you know they will be available).

Tip #4 – Read and Favourite this page

ITS (NAIT tech experts) put together a quick troubleshooting guide for you. Read their guide here, so you know what’s there and favourite the page so you can go back to it if needed.

Tip #5 – Gather evidence

If you have problems during the exam, take a deep breath, and screenshot or record what is happening and save them. Get in contact with your instructor through the method they advised immediately and do what they tell you. If you cannot get a hold of your instructor or resume your exam quickly, follow tip 6.

Tip #6 – Have ITS on your speed dial

NAIT’s ITS phone number is 780-471-8624. If your instructor is not available and you cannot get back to your exam quickly, call ITS and try to troubleshoot with them. They will also create a ticket number for you. Keep that number if you need to follow up with the instructor regarding why you could not complete your exam. ITS’ hours of operation are Mon-Fri – 7:30 a.m. – 8:00 p.m., Sat-Sun – 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Tip #7 – Reach out to NAITSA VP Academic (aka ME)

If all fails and you wish that it were all a bad dream (but it was not), I’d be happy to explore further resources and actions you can take. However, nothing is more important than being proactive and prepared about this and following tips 1 through 6. I can be contacted by Microsoft Teams or email through

Best of luck on your exams, and feel free to reach out with any questions you have.

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