CBTF Student Procedures

If you’re a student in a class whose exams are administered in one of Cal’s Computer-Based Testing Facilities (CBTF), please read and understand these procedures before showing up for your exam.

Before your test

You should plan to show up 10 minutes early to your reserved test time. A CBTF proctor will be present to let you in. Be sure you go to the correct room in which you made your reservation! Seating is assigned and you will not be seated in the wrong room, and if you arrive late you cannot be given extra time. Please familiarize yourself with the locations of the CBTF rooms on campus before making your reservation, so you choose a room that is easy to get to on the day of your reservation.

Reservations required!

You must have a reservation to take the exam in the CBTF—you can’t just show up. Your instructor will give you a link for making, modifying, and cancelling your own exam reservations. Most exams have a “window” of 1 to 2 days (1 to 3 during finals week) and you can schedule yourself into any available slot in any of the CBTF rooms during that window. If you have an accommodation letter for extra time, reduced distraction environment, or other accommodation, please make sure you instructor knows as early as possible since there are specific separate procedures to follow for making reservations in such cases. In general, reservations are one hour in length (2 hours during finals week) and begin at :15 after the hour. Your instructor decides if the exam fits into a single slot or requires a double-length or longer slot. In all cases, the time limit for the exam itself may be less than the total length of your reservation slot. If you miss your slot, no problem: just reschedule to any available slot in the window. If no available slots fit your schedule, you’ll have to ask your instructor for special arrangements.

Important: Bring your Cal ID and phone to the exam, for DuoMobile 2-factor!

Your Cal ID card will be required for check-in. You may be denied entry if you can’t prove your identity. IMPORTANT: Be sure the process for signing in with CalNet and the Duo two-factor app is working with your device. In particular, if you get a new phone between when you made your exam reservation and when your exam is scheduled, please set up/verify your Duo configuration or you won’t be able to login to the exam, since CalNet login is the only way to access the exam. Ensuring that your phone is set up to access campus eduroam wireless will give you another option to authenticate to CalNet with the Duo app if your phone is not able to connect to cellular data. Additionally, anecdotally, we have found that T-Mobile sometimes has spotty coverage in the exam labs.


You can only take your test during the time you reserved it. Check-in will be conducted by showing your Cal ID card to the proctor. Upon check-in, a seat will be assigned to you. You must sit in the seat assigned to you at check-in. If the seat assigned to you (or the workstation at that seat) is non-functional, let your proctor know and they will reassign you a new seat. Log into the workstation (using the proctor-provided username and password) when you arrive at your seat. Then, log into PrairieTest so that you are ready to begin taking your exam once the proctor starts it. Find additional instructions below under “Starting your Test.”

Arriving late

If you arrive late, no additional time will be provided. You will need to finish the assessment in the time remaining in your reservation. Proctors cannot extend your time so please don’t ask them. After the exam you can talk to the course staff to try to make other arrangements. No exceptions to this rule can be made by proctors for any reason.

Personal items & electronic devices must be off your desk

Personal items such as wallets, keys, watches, phones, pencil cases, eyeglass cases, sweaters, hats, electronic devices, food, water bottles, etc., should be kept in your backpacks and kept off of the desk where the exam computer is located. You may bring your own earplugs. You may not wear headphones. Electronic devices, such as phones, smart watches, calculators, etc., are not allowed during the test. Cellphones must be put on silent and stored in your backpack or left with the proctor. Any device not properly stowed will be taken and stored at the proctor’s desk at the front, and reported to your instructor. You may not wear headphones. NO access to devices during exam for any reason. NO exceptions. If someone’s phone rings, a proctor must come silence it. You must take the exam on the lab’s computers—you may not use your own devices to take the exam.

Scratch paper

Proctors have scratch paper; you’re not allowed to bring your own. Please take only what you need. All scratch paper must be returned to the proctor once you’re finished with the test and no scratch paper may leave the CBTF.

Disruptive Behavior

While entering the CBTF room please be quiet and avoid distracting behaviors, as some students might still be taking tests from the previous session (some courses have longer exams). Of course, talking to other students is absolutely not permitted during the test.

Starting your Test

When you arrive at your assigned seat, you will need to login to the CBTF generic account. Credentials will be provided by the proctor and/or given to you in advance. After this login is complete, you can open a Web browser to continue with CalNet login and your exam:
  1. Open any browser and go to us.prairietest.com (if you get “No internet”, double-check URL! Lab firewall blocks connections to all other hosts)
  2. You will see one of the following messages:
  • If you see ““You need to be checked in …”:  Ask the proctor to check you in. (You’ll also see this if you try to open the exam link outside of the exam room.)
  • If you see “Your exam is starting soon in [room]…”: All is well, your proctor will start the exam at the designated exam start time.
  • If you see “Your exam is now ready”: click the Start Exam button to get access to the exam.
  1. Once you click Start Exam, you will get the link to your exam. Open the link and start taking the exam.
  2. When you complete your exam, go back to us.prairietest.com and click End Exam for self-checkout.
  3. If you require the full time, any unsaved answer will not be graded. Be sure to submit every response before the exam time ends.
  4. Log all the way out of the exam workstation.
  5. A proctor will confirm that you checked out from the exam correctly before you leave the exam room.
The exam will close automatically at the exam end time, which is defined by the exam start time plus the exam duration defined by the instructor (which may be different among students due to accommodations, etc.; students can find their exam scheduled duration from the Reservation panel in PrairieTest.)

Bathroom Breaks

Bathroom breaks are permitted during your test but please do your best to use the washroom before you start your assessment in the CBTF. Unfortunately, we cannot provide extra time for washroom breaks.

If you finish early

Please ensure you’ve logged out completely, then quietly gather your belongings and let the proctor know you are leaving.