Answers to common technical questions about online exams, including how to set up before you start and what to do on the day.
Having problems on the day? Jump straight to the exam day section.
Preparing for your exam
Make sure the technology you plan to use for the exam is ready in advance.
The exam will be accessible from a number of devices, including:
- desktop computers
Your device needs to be in landscape mode, not portrait. Accessing the exam on a mobile phone is not recommended, as you will not have all functionality available to you.
A larger screen will offer you the best chance of viewing the exam in its entirety without having to scroll. The stability of the exam platform may also not be consistent on a mobile phone. Therefore, we do not recommend using a mobile phone, as this will not provide you with a good exam experience.
Please check that any software updates are carried out before the exam, so that your exam is not interrupted. The College of Policing is unable to assist with any disruption caused to an exam due to a software update installing during the exam. It is your responsibility to ensure that software updates are in place before the exam and that you have tested your device sufficiently before the exam.
Force and personal devices
Using your force device means accessing the exam through your force VPN (virtual private network), and you may be restricted by force bandwidth even if you have fast home broadband access.
You should ensure that the device you are using is not set to clear it's cache automatically. This is important because if you lose connection during your exam, the exam will continue offline and your responses will be saved in your cache. If the cache is automatically deleted, we cannot recover your answers. Please check with your force IT team that this will not be an issue, if you plan to use a force device.
If this is likely to be an issue, consider using a personal device to take the exam instead of your work device.
If you are using a force device or network other than your personal one, please ensure that the URL has been approved by your force ahead of taking the exam and your device will not block any exam content.
Checking your device
Before the exam you must check your device and browser are suitable for the exam.
You may experience issues if you're accessing your exam on a device using an old operating system. The following operating systems are supported by the platform:
- Windows 10+
- MacOS Big Sur+
- iPadOS 15+
- Android 12+
Please check what system you're using by locating the 'about' information on your device (often located in the settings menu) and reviewing the operating system specifications, where the operating system will be defined.
Please note MacOS Catalina is not supported by the platform and is known to cause issues when loading the exam. If your device uses this operating system you should source an alternative device to take your exam.
We recommend you use the following browsers (the software you use to access the internet):
- Google Chrome 100+
- Microsoft Edge 100+
- Safari 15+
You may experience issues if you access your exam in an old browser. Ensure you upgrade your browser to the latest version before the exam.
You can check the version of the browser you're using by opening it, navigating to the settings and viewing the 'about' information. This will display the browser version number.
You should avoid using any sort of InPrivate or Incognito browsers, as these will not retain any locally stored answers in their cache. This is important because if you lose connection during their exam, the exam will continue and your responses will be saved in your browser cache. If the cache is automatically deleted, we cannot recover your answers.
The minimum screen resolution should be 1280 x 720.
You can check this by opening the settings on your device and reviewing the display resolution setting.
If your screen resolution is set too low, you might not see all the content on a page. This means you will need to scroll to see all content and the 'next' button to proceed through the exam. This should not prevent you from accessing or completing the assessment.
If your screen resolution is set too high, this could make text difficult to read.
Some display issues can be resolved by:
- hiding the Windows taskbar
- increasing or decreasing the browser zoom level
- using a different web browser
Internet connection and wifi
Make sure you have a strong and stable internet connection. The minimum bandwidth needed is 2Mbps. You can check this by visiting https://broadbandtest.which.co.uk
If you are able to connect to your broadband router using an ethernet cable instead of using wifi that is recommended.
If your internet connection fails during the exam, the system will allow you to continue with your exam offline, in your internet cache. You therefore should not encounter any buffering or connection issues during your exam. If your device reconnects to the internet during this time your answers will be saved and you can continue to work online.
If your internet does not reconnect and you have completed your exam, the platform will notify you that it has not been able to upload your answers and will ask you to download an encrypted file with your answers.
Please ensure you send the downloaded file, without altering it, to
- [email protected] for NIE exams
- [email protected] for NPPF exams
If you do not forward this file, we will be unable to recover your exam.
If you do close the browser for any reason, you will be asked to provide a reason for this before being able to continue with the exam. You can provide further evidence after the exam via your force contact officer and this must be provided within three days of the exam date to the College for review.
To help ensure you do not lose internet connection, it is important to test the strength of your connection before the exam. If you do not have a strong internet connection and it fails during the exam, the College will not be able to assist with this. The College cannot accept appeals after the exam regarding local connection issues or poor internet connections.
Getting access to the exam
Before the exam you will be sent an email that includes:
- the URL you need to use
- your unique username
- your unique password
Take a note of both of these because not knowing them on the day will delay you starting your exam whilst you request the College to resend this information. Please note you will be asked to change your password on your first log in attempt and must change to a password that you will be able to remember when you take the exam, or we will have to reset your account and this will delay you starting your exam.
In the email you'll be provided with guidance on how to check your device ahead of the exam using the ‘check system requirements’ box in the bottom right corner of your login page. Please complete this prior to your exam so you can ensure you device meets the requirements.
What to do if you don't get an email
If you have not received this email 24 hours prior to your exam date, please inform your force exams contact.
On exam day
Getting onto the exam
When accessing the exam, you will be asked to enter your username and password provided in the email. Make sure you enter it correctly and check it carefully before you access the exam. Your username and password are unique to you and if you do not enter them correctly three times, the system will lock your account and you will need to request a password reset which will delay you starting the exam.
To avoid entering your username and password incorrectly, we advise you to copy and paste your username directly from the email. You must not share your unique username and password with anyone else nor use anyone else's username and password to access the exam.
When you press enter the exam platform you will be asked to read and agree to the privacy statement and candidate declaration. The timer will remain paused while you do so. When you have agreed to the privacy statement and candidate declaration, your exam will begin and the timer will start. The exam will appear in a separate pop-up window.
During the exam
It is your responsibility to ensure that you have a suitable device (such as a laptop, computer or tablet) to access your exam on. If possible, put your device on 'do not disturb' mode so that you are not distracted during the exam.
Before the exam, you should close any applications and additional browser tabs on your device to help ensure that connectivity isn't affected.
Submitting the exam
At the end of the exam, you will be asked to confirm that you have finished and that you would like to submit your responses. The final page will also detail how many answered, unanswered and flagged questions you have left. If you have time remaining, you can click on ‘Return to Assessment’ and use the left-hand panel to navigate directly to questions you wish to revisit. If you would like to finish the assessment, you can click on ‘Finish Assessment’.
Once you have completed the exam, you cannot re-access the questions.
If your time runs out before you complete the questions, you will be prompted that the time is ending and your responses will be automatically saved.
At the end of the exam, you may not receive a message to confirm that your answers have been submitted successfully. Please do not worry as your answers will have been submitted if you still have an internet connection. If you are concerned your answers have not been received we can provide confirmation. However, please note you may experience a delay in our response if we are busy as we will prioritise answering queries from candidates who are experiencing difficulties accessing their exam or within their exam first.
Experiencing issues on the day
Please ensure that you follow the above guidance to avoid issues on exam day. If speed is an issue, check whether there are service issues first:
- by internet service provider (opens a new website)
- by location (opens a new website)
You can also test the speed and performance of your internet connection. To do so, close your exam and run the internet speed test. If your internet connection is slow and you are completing the exam at home, check whether other devices at home are using bandwidth (laptops, phones, gaming consoles).
If speed is an issue or if the screen has frozen, try closing your browser and reopening.
If the issue is not related to speed, please check your device and browser settings are compatible with the exam.
If you use a device, operating system, or browser which does not meet the minimum requirements above, you may experience issues loading your exam, or buffering which we are unable to resolve for you. We cannot accept appeals from candidates who choose to take their exam on a device which does not comply with these requirements (if you subsequently experience issues).
Contacting us if you need help on the day
If this does not help get in touch by email.
National investigators' exam (NIE) contact [email protected]
NPPF sergeants' or inspectors' exam email: [email protected]
To help us understand the issues you are facing, please provide the following information in your email:
A description of the problem – what can you see? Do not send screenshots of the questions as taking copies of any part of the question is a breach of exam rules and will be treated as such.
- Have you completed the 'check system requirements' steps?
- How long have you experienced this issue?
- If there is a speed issue, how long is the wait between questions? Or is it completely frozen? (If so, have you tried closing the browser and reopening?)
- Before the exam did you complete the familiarisation exercise? If yes, did you successfully complete the exercise?
- Where are you located (town/city)?
- Are you on a force device?
- Are you aware of any local issues? You can check by provider or by location.
- If speed is an issue, please close your exam and run a speed test. What are the results?
- If you are completing the exam at home, are there other devices at home using bandwidth? If yes, you can run the speed test again after disconnecting those devices, to see if there is any improvement.
You may not receive an immediate response to the query but we will get back to you as soon as possible. Make sure that you have taken all steps possible to resolve the issue yourself first.