ISE Exam Instructions

The written portion of the ISE Exam will be given in-person, using Respondus Lockdown Browser, and the oral portion of the exam will be given online, using Zoom. Please note: the oral portion of the exam is often given on the day after the written portion of the exam, or in the case where the written portion of the exam is on Friday, the oral portion may be given on the following Monday.

After you register for the ISE Exam, please check out the video below for instructions on how to prepare for the exam, or you may read below for the same instructions:

Preparations for the written portion of the ISE Exam before the time of the exam:

  1. Be sure to have your USC network ID set up to access Blackboard via myUSC.
  2. You will need to have Windows 10+ (not 10S) for a PC, or macOS 10.12 to 11.1+ for a Mac in order to run LockDown Browser. If you do not meet the requirement, please update your computer right away or obtain another device that meets the requirement.  
  3. Download and install LockDown Browser from this link:
  4. When you sign-up for the ISE Exam, you will be enrolled in the “Technology Check” course within 48 business hours. To complete the “Technology Check”: open LockDown browser; sign into Blackboard with your USC Network ID and password; find the ISE Technology Check course; click and follow the instructions. This is a mandatory step that needs to be completed to ensure that you have the technology capability required to access the exam through LockDown Browser. You are strongly advised to complete the check as soon as you are able ahead of the actual exam. 
  5. During the technology check, view and complete the technology check questions. Once you have completed the questions, click submit and then close the browser.

Instructions for the written portion of the ISE Exam at the time of the exam:

  1. Bring your laptop with Responds Lockdown Browser already installed to the exam location. The exam proctor will lead your through the following steps.
  2. Open the LockDown Browser (which should automatically take you to USC’s Blackboard homepage).
  3. Login to Blackboard (You will be asked to enter your USC net ID and password).
  4. Select the ALI ISE Exam .
  5. Click on the ISE Written Exam .
  6. Click “Begin” to start the test.
  7. From the time you click “Begin,” you will have 50 minutes to complete and submit the exam on Blackboard. Be sure to submit on time as you will NOT be able to submit it late.
  8. Close the LockDown browser to exit the test.

IMPORTANT: You will be monitored for the entire duration of the exam. No other devices (e.g., phones, Internet accessible watches) are allowed during the exam. Be prepared to remain at your desk for the duration of the exam. It is imperative that you follow instructions and not engage in any forms of academic dishonesty which can result in exam invalidation and other consequences permitted under University policy.  

If you have any difficulty downloading Respondus Lockdown Browser or signing into Blackboard, please email

Instructions for the oral portion of the ISE Exam:

Please note: If you are an International Teaching Assistant (ITA), you will not take the oral portion of the ISE Exam. You will need to take the ITA Exam instead. You can request an appointment for the ITA Exam at

The online oral exam will be given using Zoom. The oral exam only takes about 12-15 minutes, and you will be given a more specific appointment time before the day of the exam. Until then, you should plan to be available during the entire period listed in your reservation. You will receive an email on the day of your exam with your specific exam appointment time and your Zoom link.  Please be available for at least 1 hour from this appointment time. Sign into your USC Zoom account 15 minutes before your appointment time. Make sure you sign into your USC Zoom account and not a personal Zoom account. You can ensure that you are signing in correctly by using this URL ( Once on this page, click “Sign in” which will direct you to sign in using your USC Network ID. Make sure that you have your USC ID or passport for identification ready to show on the day of your exam.

When you enter the Zoom session, your testers might not be in the room. Don’t worry if you don’t see them right away or if, instead of entering the room, you receive a dialog box that says “Waiting for the host to start this meeting” or “The host has another meeting in progress”. This is normal and expected. Please DO NOT leave the room. Your testers will join you as soon as they become available. This may take up to 60 minutes. Please wait in the Zoom meeting room until they arrive. The interview will last approximately 12-15 minutes.