Information for Candidates / test-takers writing online tests

As a test-taker, you may be required to write a test using the Personnel Psychology Centre's Online Testing Facility (OLTF) technology instead of the traditional paper and pencil format. Online tests have many advantages over other formats. For example, paper-and-pencil tests require the use of a bubble sheet to record your answers where every circle must be darkened appropriately. When for a given question two circles are darkened, and only one answer is required, that question will be scored as incorrect and you will get a score of 0 for that question.

As with paper-and-pencil formats of tests, online tests are proctored, which means that Test Session Officers (TSO) are there to ensure that the session follows the Personnel Psychology Centre's administrative procedures. For example, the test administrators will begin with the instructions pertaining to the testing session protocol and the test you are taking. You will be shown examples of questions and will be able to ask questions. TSOs will follow all current procedures concerning late candidates, temporary absences from the testing room, withdrawal of candidates from a testing session, candidates requiring accommodations, cheating, disruptive candidates, disputes regarding test questions, emergencies and other situations.

What and what not to bring to an online testing session

Please ensure that you bring all of the information regarding your testing session, including your Test Taker ID number (see below for more information), to the testing room. Be sure also to bring one piece of signature identification with photo and also your Personal Record Identifier (PRI) if you are a Public Servant. This number will be recorded on the Personal Information Page.

Rough paper and pencils will be provided for your use. Nothing else should be required for the testing session unless you are given specific instructions to this effect prior to the test session. Do not bring Blackberries, cellular telephones, USB keys, PDAs or any other electronic devices into the testing room as these are not permitted.

Computer skills necessary

Only two computer skills are necessary to write an online test. You have already mastered those skills if you are reading this information from a web page or if you used a text editor or sent e-mail recently. First, in order to get to this web page, you needed to point your mouse's cursor in specific areas of your screen and click with your index finger. During your online testing session, you will need to use your mouse to mark your answers and, when necessary, to move "back" to a previous question and "next" to the following question. Second, you will use your mouse to point on the scroll bar to the right of the screen in order to move up or down on a page. As you can see, although computer skills are necessary to write a test online, the required level is very basic.

Rescore of on-line tests

The scoring key for each test in the On-line Testing Facility (OLTF) system has been thoroughly reviewed.

OLTF automatically applies the appropriate scoring key for each test.

As a result, the Public Service Commission does not offer rescores of tests that are administered on-line.

Security and Privacy

Your name is assigned to an electronic version of a specific test. Your session will start with a login screen. It will not be possible to start the session before you get two numbers: the first number, your unique Test Taker ID is given to you prior to the testing session (please bring this number with you to the testing session), the other number, the Test Administrator ID, is given immediately before the test. This security measure ensures test and testing security. (Figure 1 shows the login screen. The Test Session Officer (TSO) will take you through this simple process.

Please note: for each online test that you are scheduled to take, you will be issued a unique Test Taker ID.

Figure 1


This is another step to help ensure test security and that your name will be linked to your test results of your test results, Figure 2 shows the screen where you will be asked to confirm that the test taker's name, as it appears on the screen, is your own.

Figure 2

Self Identification

The next screen you will be shown (illustrated in Figure 3) is a Privacy Statement, which describes who will have access to your test results and how any personal information you provide will be used.

Figure 3

Privacy Statement

Once you have read the Privacy Statement, the Test Session Officer, (TSO) will give you instructions for filling in the Personal Information screen (Figure 4). You will see two types of boxes: a) direct keying - using your keyboard and b) drop down menus - using your mouse to click on the arrow located at the bottom of the menu box to make your selection. If you are a government employee, you will need to enter your PRI, Department, and Classification group, sub-group, and level.

Figure 4

Personnal Information

Computer instructions

Figure 5

Computer Instructions

Test instructions

The Test Session Officer (TSO) will read instructions that pertain to the test you are taking. The instructions will also appear on your screen. You will be able to ask questions.

Timed tests

If the test is timed, the computer ensures fairness by controlling the duration of the session, from the exact moment each test-taker clicks "Start Your Test". A timer in the upper right corner of the screen will show exactly how much time is left. After the allocated time the computer will close your test. If you finish early, you can use the remaining time to review your answers.

How to respond to questions

Although this will vary from test to test, Figure 6 shows an example of a screen presenting a multiple choice question. The main elements of this screen are the name of the test (in this case "PSC Practice Test"), the question number you are responding to and the total number of questions in the test (in this case "Question 1 / 6"), the actual question and, in the case of a multiple choice question, the options from which you can choose. Of course, more text can appear, depending upon the amount of text in the question and in the answer choices. Point your mouse's cursor and click the circle next to the answer choices. The computer will not allow more that one answer per question. The upper left corner of the screen shows a "Mark for Review" box you can check to remind yourself to revisit any question later if you have time. Finally, in the bottom portion of the screen, "Back" and "Next" buttons will allow you to move back to the previous question or forward to the next question.

This information will be repeated immediately before the testing session and your test administrator will answer any questions.

Figure 6

Example 1

How to review your answers

Two strategies are available. During the test, you can use the "Back" and "Next" buttons to navigate within your test.

If, after answering all the questions, you have time left, you will see a screen that looks like the one shown in Figure 7. This is the review screen. In this hypothetical example, the upper right corner shows that you still have 3 minutes left to complete the test. The screen shows the answers you provided for all the questions. In this case, the PSC Practice test has 6 questions. For example, at question 1 you answered "4", at question 2 you answered "3", and so on. When "Marked" appears, like as with question 1, it means you checked the "Mark for Review" box for that question. Click on the circle next to the question number, then click on the "Edit" button. This will take you directly to the question. You can change your answer or leave it as is. Marking questions does not influence your score. If you are satisfied, you can click on "Submit". You will then be asked to confirm that you want to leave your test and upload your results (Figure 8). If you click on "Yes" your results will be uploaded and your session will be complete.

Figure 7


Figure 8

Practice Test - Final Screen
  • To learn more about the test you are scheduled to take, consult the list of tests available online