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

Take-home online exams are open-book exams and allow flexibility to accommodate the different circumstances and needs of our students.

Exams will be available for 23 hours in most cases, which means you can access and complete your paper at any time during this period, whenever suits you best – depending on your current time zone or around family life or any caring commitments, for example.

For some specific exams there may be a time restriction in place, which means once you have started your paper online (within the 23-hour window), it must be submitted within a specified time. Again, your Module Convenor will let you know if this applies for any of your exams.

For more information see Take home online exams on Essentials.

There are four 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, normally with a time limit)Image of Blackboard Test icon
  • Gradescope (for handwritten exams, mostly in Maths and Sciences, normally with a time limit) Gradescope 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 2021" 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 the instructions carefully before you start your exam.

Take Home Exams area on the Blackboard course menu

Most Take Home Exams require submission of written work via Turnitin. Some exams will require you to submit to a Blackboard or Gradescope assignment, or completion of a Blackboard Test. The exam papers, submission points / Test will be available in a folder called "Exam" (or something similar) which will only become visible to you 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.

Gradescope: For help with submitting to Gradescope assignments see our Gradescope guide.

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 and will receive a mark of zero.

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.

Gradescope is an online assessment tool designed for the submission of handwritten work – for instance in Maths, Sciences and Languages.

Gradescope will be used for some exams in Summer 2021 – your lecturers will provide information on this.

Where exams are delivered through Gradescope they will normally be timed so that, once started, you must submit your work within the specified time limit.

Please see our Gradescope help page.

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 will be 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 will be 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:

You can contact us with technical queries via the DTS (Digital Technology Service) Self Service Portal. Please use the ‘Take Home Exam IT Support’ form on the portal to ensure a speedy response to your query.

Please note that ‘live’ support is available from 8:00am-5:00pm UK time Monday to Friday and will be available for limited hours 8:00am-9.30am UK time on Saturday morning during the exam period.

For urgent queries (for example, at the submission deadline), you can call the ‘Take Home Exam Helpline’ on +44 (0) 118 378 7049 from 8:30 - 10:30 UK time Monday to Friday. Please be aware that our telephone lines are very busy at this time of year so we may be unable to answer immediately.

For urgent technical issues on a Saturday please log a ticket via the DTS Self Service Portal.

Other support:
For non-technical queries you can contact the ‘Take Home Exam email helpdesk’ using your university email to take-home-exam@reading.ac.uk. The support hours will be 08:30 – 17:00 UK time Monday to Friday, and 8.00-9.30am on Saturdays. If you contact us outside these hours, we will respond as soon as possible once the support service re-opens.


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“.


Get ready for take-home exams

Well before the day of your exam, make sure that you can log into Blackboard on the device(s) you will be using to take the exam – see How to log in to Blackboard.

Use the Browser Checker on the Blackboard Help site to ensure everything is set up correctly to access and use Blackboard.

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