Online ISE Exam Instructions

The written portion of the ISE Exam will be given on Blackboard Zoom, and Responds Lockdown Browser, and the oral portion of the exam will be given 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 and make sure you are able to sign in with the USC SSO for Zoom.
  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:
    https://download.respondus.com/lockdown/download.php?id=945755274
  4. Be sure to have a working webcam (built-in or directly attached in front of you) for the exam.
  5. 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. 
  6. During the technology check, you will be instructed to click on the Zoom link and then enter your name. Do NOT click on “Launch Meeting.” Instead, click on “Join from your Browser” (found towards the bottom of the screen) then follow instructions. You may either enter an empty room or you may see a message such as “The host will let you in shortly” or “This meeting has not started.” At this point, you may click on the Blackboard tab (upper left of screen) to view and complete the rest of 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. Open the LockDown Browser (which should automatically take you to USC’s Blackboard homepage).
  2. Login to Blackboard (You will be asked to enter your USC net ID and password).
  3. Select the ALI ISE Exam 15 minutes before the start time.
  4. Click on the ISE Essay Exam (or the Practice Exam) . Take time to read the instructions.
  5. Click “Begin” to start the test.
  6. DO NOT CLICK ON “LAUNCH MEETING”. Instead, click on “Join from Your Browser” then follow the instructions.
  7. Once you enter the Zoom room for the exam, the Testing Proctors will be waiting for you. They may put you in the waiting room during the check-in process. Please wait for your turn to be checked in and called back in to begin the Essay Exam.
  8. For the actual exam, once all the test takers are in the Zoom room, the Testing Proctor will provide the essay topic choices.
  9. From the time you are given the essay topics, 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.
  10. Please “Leave” the Zoom Meeting and close the LockDown browser to exit the test.

IMPORTANT: You will be monitored and recorded for the entire duration of the exam. Turn off all other devices (e.g. tablets, phones, second computers) and place them outside of your reach. Clear your desk or workspace as no outside material is allowed. Remain at your computer for the duration of the test and ensure that your face can be fully captured by the webcam. 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 askali@usc.edu.

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 itatest@usc.edu.

The online oral exam will be given using Zoom. The oral exam only takes about 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 (usc.zoom.us). 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.