Answers to common technical questions about online exams. Including how to make sure that you have everything 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:
- standalone computers
Avoid taking the exam on your mobile phone.
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.
Force and personal devices
Using your force laptop 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.
If this is likely to be an issue, consider using a personal device to take the exam instead of your work laptop.
If you are using a force device, please ensure that the URL has been approved by your force and your device will not block any exam content.
Checking your device
Check your device is compatible with the exam using this compatibility checker (opens a new website). You should see the word 'passed' in green in all six rows at the top of page.
If you do not see this, you may need to upgrade your browser.
You can use the following browsers (the software you use to access the internet):
- from any computer you can use Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox or Opera
- for Apple Macs you can use Safari
- for Windows 10 you can use Microsoft Edge
We do not recommend Internet Explorer 11 and advise you use one of the above browsers. Ensure you upgrade your browser to the latest version before the exam.
Before the exam day, you will be sent an email inviting you to complete a compatibility check.
This will show you how your screen resolution will affect your exam experience. You can then adjust your screen resolution settings before the exam day to ensure you can navigate through the exam easily.
As well as the compatibility check, there is a exercise which will help you familiarise yourself with the exam platform before the exam day.
Complete both the compatibility check and the familiarisation exercise.
If the compatibility check passes, you do not need to change your screen resolution settings. If the compatibility check fails, this is because your screen resolution is set too low or too high compared with the recommended screen resolution setting. This should not prevent you from accessing or completing the assessment.
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 also the 'next' button to proceed through the exam.
If your screen resolution is set too high, this could make text difficult to read.
The compatibility check is more likely to fail on laptops. This can often 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.
If you are able to connect to your broadband router using an ethernet cable instead of using wifi that is recommended.
If your connection drops out during the exam, the system will save your answers up to that point. You will then need to sign back into the exam using your login details. The timer will pause until you have returned to the exam, so you will not lose time if you lose connection.
Attempting to stop the clock to gain an advantage in the exam is a breach of exam rules and any attempts to do this will be reviewed at marking. If you have an exceptional reason to close the browser (such as a local internet connection issue), you must report this to The College of Policing via your force contact officer after the exam and within seven days of the exam date. If you need to close the browser, ensure it is fully closed. If it is not fully closed, the timer may not pause and you will lose time from your exam which you will not be able to get back.
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
Take a note of both of these as the College cannot provide this information on the day.
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 provided in the email. Make sure you enter it correctly and check it carefully before you access the exam. Your username is unique to you and if you do not enter it correctly, you may not receive your exam result.
To avoid entering your username incorrectly, we advise you to copy and paste your username directly from the email into the username box on the exam platform. You must not share your unique username with anyone else nor use anyone else's username to access the exam.
When you press 'start' you will be asked to read 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 on your device that you won't need to use, to help ensure that connectivity isn't affected.
Submitting the exam
You can only submit all responses when you have completed all questions in the exam. You will then be prompted to confirm that you wish to submit all responses.
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.
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:
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.
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@example.com
NPPF sergeants' or inspectors' exam email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
- 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?
- Before the exam did you check that your device and browser are compatible with the exam by using the compatibility checker?
- Where are you located (town/city)?
- Are you on a force device? If so, try using a personal device (you can use the compatibility checker to test the 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.