Troubleshooting and Problem Solving

The following content is aimed at helping you resolve any issues that may arise during the delivery of an on-screen test. Each section outlines a brief scenario in which the problem is described, along with instructions and guidance demonstrating how to solve the problem.

Remember: Details of any disruption or problem that occurs during the test should be recorded on the Invigilation Report (or the relevant document provided by your Institution). Details of the incident, including the candidates involved, the action taken, and the time the incident lasted should always be recorded, even if the situation was resolved quickly and easily.

Incorrect Keycode


Problem: The candidate sees an error message ‘Invalid Keycode: verification error’ when they enter their Keycode and press ‘OK’ to begin the test: the Keycode the candidate has entered is incorrect/invalid.

Solution: Use the Invigilate screen in Test Administration or the attendance register in the Invigilation pack to locate the correct Keycode for that candidate.

Good Practice Tip: When checking Keycodes, take into account that the letters ‘Y’ and ‘V’ look very similar when printed, as do ‘5’ (the number) and ‘S’ (the letter).

Computer Failure


Problem: The computer that the candidate is using stops working or crashes.

Solution: The candidate should be immediately moved to a vacant machine (this computer should already be prepared and ready to go, see the chapter 'Preparing for the Test' for more information.). Once they have moved, the candidate can re-enter their keycode and continue the test from the point that they became disconnected. All the answers previously submitted will have been saved, and the timer will resume from the point at which it was stopped.

User Disconnected State


If a candidate’s test becomes disconnected, i.e. their computer is no longer connected to the central server; you will see the ‘User Disconnected’ symbol in the State column of the Invigilate table. This symbol may appear momentarily if the test briefly loses its connection. If the connection is restored quickly, the symbol will disappear and the candidate will be able to continue the test. If the symbol shows for a longer period, you should follow the steps outlined in the relevant section below.

Loss of Connection


In the event of a candidate’s computer losing its connection, what happens will depend on the delivery method used.

Loss of Connection - Tests Delivered through SecureClient – Start of Test


Problem: The candidate sees an error message ‘Invalid Keycode: SecureClient Core – OFFLINE’ when they enter their keycode and press the ‘OK’ button: there is no connection present.

Solution: Check that the computer is connected to the internet. When a connection is re-established (or, if a connection cannot be re-established at that machine, the candidate has been moved to a computer with a connection present) they can re-enter the keycode, and access the test as normal.
 

Loss of Connection - Tests Delivered through SecureClient – End of Test


Problem: At the end of the test, the candidate sees a notification window telling them that their results cannot be uploaded to the central server: the candidate’s internet connection was lost during the test.This is because any test delivered through SecureClient uses Resilience Caching as standard. This means that as soon as the candidate enters their keycode, the whole test is downloaded to that computer. The candidate is therefore able to continue to access the test content and submit their answers without a connection to the Surpass server. Any answers the candidate inputs will also be stored locally on the computer until the connection is re-established, and the responses can be uploaded back into Surpass. During the test therefore, the candidate would not be aware that the connection had been lost, and they will be able to continue the test uninterrupted.  If, at the end of the test, the connection has not been re-established, the candidate will see the ‘Offline’ notification window.

Solution: If this notification window is left open, SecureClient will continue to try and resubmit the test. If the computer needs to be used for other purposes, the window can be closed. SecureClient will then automatically check for any tests that have not been uploaded every time it is launched. The next time SecureClient is run with a connection present the test will be submitted. It is the invigilator’s responsibility to ensure that they or the IT staff in the centre know which machine(s) need SecureClient re-launching in order to perform the upload.

Loss of Connection - Tests Delivered via a Web Browser


Problem: The candidate’s computer loses its connection to the internet during the test session. The candidate sees an error message stating that they need to re-enter their keycode to continue the test.

Solution: All of the answers that were stored up until the point when the connection was lost will have been submitted to Surpass and stored. When a connection is re-established (or, if a connection cannot be re-established at that machine, the candidate has been moved to a computer with a connection to the internet present) they can re-enter the keycode, and continue the test from the point at which it was left. All the answers previously submitted will have been saved, and the timer will resume from the point at which it was stopped.

NoteWhen the candidate re-enters their keycode they may see an error message stating that their test is currently in progress. This occurs because it can take the server a minute to catch up after the connection is restored. If this happens, the candidate should wait for one minute and try again.

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