About this page: This page provides information about Take Home Exams and guides for preparing your Take Home Exams work and submitting to Blackboard.

A ‘take home’ exam is an open-book, time-limited exam that you can take in your own environment. Some important elements are built in to account for the current circumstances.

  • It can be done at home with access to lecture notes, internet and other resources.
  • It will be released at 10am (UK time) on Blackboard, which we will determine to take best account of time differences.
  • The take home exam will normally remain open for 23 hours, to allow for things like time differences, caring arrangements and any interruptions or technical difficulties. You are not expected to spend 23 hours actually doing the exam and suggested timings for completion will be provided.
  • You will not have more than one take home exam in a day.

There is no time for research or learning new topics and students are therefore strongly advised to revise as they would do for an exam taken under standard exam conditions.

Your exam timetable for Summer 2020 is available on RISIS.

Take Home Exam Essentials / Guidance: Please visit Take Home Exam Guidance page for further advice and Frequently Asked Questions.

There are three main submission types (take home exam types):

  • Turnitin submission point (submit work via Turnitin Submission point) Image of Turnitin icon
  • Blackboard Assignment (submit work via a Blackboard assessment submission point)image of Blackboard Assignment icon
  • Blackboard Test (for MCQs or similar questions)Image of Blackboard Test icon

Which type of submission point will be setup for my exam? If you are not sure or have not been informed yet, please contact your Module Convenor or Programme administrator for information and guidance prior to your exam date, so you can practice submitting to the relevant type of assessment, and test your computer for any technical issues.

For any module where you have an exam, go to the Blackboard course for that module, you will find a "Take-Home Exams" link on the course menu.

If you have difficulty accessing the "Take Home Exams" area, please log a support call as soon as possible.

You will find all the necessary information and guidance in the "Take Home Exams" area. Please read through all thje instructions carefully before you start your exam.

Take Home Exams Link

Take Home Exams require either submission of written work via Turnitin or Blackboard submission points, or completion of a Blackboard Test. The exam papers, submission point/s or Blackboard Test/s will be available in a folder called "Exam" (or something similar) which will only become visible to students on the day of the exam, from 10:00am UK time; please refer to your exam timetable for the dates of your Take Home Exams. In most cases, the take-home exam will be available for 23 hours and your answer(s) must be submitted before 9.00am UK time the day after your take-home exam opens, unless you have been given a different deadline from your School.

Turnitin or Blackboard Submission Points: For written work you need to download the paper and any accompanying documents from Blackboard and your answers can be typed in a Microsoft Word document as you would for coursework (unless you have been given specific instructions from your School).
Use your University Office 365 account to download Office 365 or use the web version of Office 365.

Blackboard Tests (Multiple Choice exams): Further instructions for completing Blackboard Tests can be found in "Take Home Exam: Blackboard Tests"

Image of Exam folder in Take Home Exam

General guidance

  • You are advised only to work on your answers for the duration of the time stated on the front page of the take-home exam paper. You are not expected to work for 23 hours on your answer.
  • Please read your exam paper thoroughly before you start to ensure that you understand what you need to do.
  • You are responsible for organising your time and should aim to submit your answer(s) as early as possible to ensure your work is submitted prior to the deadline specified for your take-home exam paper.
  • You are responsible for the content of the work you upload and for the academic integrity of your answer(s).
  • Once you have submitted your work, please check that it has uploaded successfully, and that you submitted the correct file. See
    Check your Turnitin submission was successful
    Check your Blackboard assignment submission was successful
    If you don't get an email receipt for work submitted to Turnitin or Blackboard assignments, you should assume that the work was not submitted successfully.
  • Submit in plenty of time before the deadline - late submissions are not allowed.

How to complete your exam papers

  • Use Microsoft Word for exams where you need to type your answers and submit a document. Your University Office 365 account gives all students access to Office, whether you are a Windows or a Mac user.
  • Do not exceed the specified word limits where they are stated.
  • You should use 12pt font size, Arial and 1.5 line spacing for word processed submissions.
  • Please write your candidate number, module code and question answer on the top of each piece of work that you submit.
  • Follow any instructions provided by your School concerning file types and file names.
  • Save your work regularly as you as you are working on it. If possible take a regular backup.
  • Complete and upload your answer(s) to the submission point(s) in Blackboard or Turnitin.

Your exam papers - technical tips

  • Use Microsoft Word for exams where you need to type your answers and submit a document. Your University Office 365 account gives all students access to Office, whether you are a Windows or a Mac user.
  • If you use other word-processing software, you should save your answer paper as a Word or PDF file - but please use Microsoft Word if at all possible: download Office 365 well in advance to avoid file type issues.
  • Apple Pages is not a supported file type for submission.
  • File names should not contain punctuation or non-standard characters. For example, full stops, colons and brackets.
  • If you have used advanced text formatting or complex tables in your document you should save your file as a PDF, to ensure the formatting stays the same. If possible, avoid using advanced text formatting.
  • For Turnitin Submission points, please ensure your file size does not exceed 100 MB.
  • Turnitin only accepts 1 file per submission. For Turnitin submissions, please ensure all your work is in one file.
  • Don't leave it till the last minute to submit.

Exams consisting of Multiple Choice and similar questions will be delivered via a Blackboard Test.

How do I take images of handwritten equations and diagrams and insert them into a document?

How do I submit a totally handwritten exam for online submission?

How do I reduce the file size of my document?

If required, you can reduce the file size of a document by compressing the size of images in it, without losing the quality of the images. Doing this makes it easier and quicker to upload and submit.

Take Home Exam Practice areas have been set up in Blackboard Learn for each School. Each practice area is intended to give you the opportunity to test downloading and uploading documents and understand what instructions you will see on exam papers, as well as to identify and resolve any technical issues ahead of the exam period.

All types of submission points are available, and this will allow you to test the different exam types your School will have set. The practice areas will be open throughout the exams period and you can access it as many times as you like.

How do I access the practice area?

You can access the Practice Area by following these instructions:

a) Log in to Blackboard Learn as usual.

b) Your Take Home Exam Practice area will be listed under 'My Modules' on the 'My Blackboard' tab.

image of how to access take home exam practice area

Take Home Exam Practice areas have been set up in Blackboard Learn for each School.  These practice areas are intended to give you the chance to test downloading and uploading documents in advance of your exams.

Technical support:

For technical issues (Blackboard and IT) please raise a ticket via the Digital Technology Service (DTS) Self Service Portal in the first instance, or contact us on +44 (0) 118 378 7049. Please note that ‘live’ support is available from 8:30am - 5.00pm UK time Monday to Friday.
Limited technical support will also be available 8:00am - 9.00am UK time on Saturday 12 and Saturday 19 September.

Other support:

For non-technical queries, read more on exams guidance or email take-home-exam@reading.ac.uk. Emails must be sent from your University email account and you should provide your candidate number.

Circumstances Impact Process (CIP): We have also introduced a new Circumstances Impact Process (CIP) for this period that you can use to let us know if you have been affected by issues relating to IT and internet access.

Resolving possible issues on the Day or in Advance: Suggestions to resolve any possible issues you may have on the day of the exam (or well in advance) are available on "Take Home Exams Guidance" page.

Can’t find what you are looking for? Should you have any questions or need help, please fill this form to contact “Take Home Exam IT Support“.

Preparing for take-home exams tips: Follow our top 5 study tips