online ita exam instructions

After you sign up for your exam, you will receive a Zoom invitation link to your USC email 24 hours before your exam with your terms. Please be available for 1 hour and make sure that you have your USC ID ready to show.

During the exam, make sure you sign in  to 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 Net ID.. 

While in the Zoom session, your testers will not be in the room when you join. So 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” (example screenshots are attached). All these scenarios are 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 45 minutes. Please wait in the meeting room until they arrive. For instance, if your scheduled time is 2pm, you will sign into the room at 2pm and then your testers will enter anytime between 2pm and 2:45pm. Once they enter, the exam will take roughly 15 minutes. 

IMPORTANT: The webcam will be recording you 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. 

Please also note the new ONLINE testing criteria below.

Exam Information:

The ITA Exam is designed to assess your oral proficiency and readiness to begin teaching. You will not be evaluated on your ability to use technology. The interview consists of two parts:

1. A brief interview in which you talk about your educational experience and interest in graduate studies at USC. (3-5 minutes)

2. An explanation of a term or concept (approximately 7 minutes). Two terms or concepts will be sent to you 24 hours prior to the exam so that you can prepare a simulated classroom presentation on one of those terms or concepts.

3. Given the online nature of the exam, you have the option to choose ONE of the following tools in your presentation:

  1. a maximum of 2 power point slides
  2. a physical blackboard or white board
  3. a smart board or Zoom whiteboard

The examiners will act as students and will ask questions about the term.

4. In addition to providing a definition and explaining the importance of your term, it is recommended that your presentation include one or more of the following:

  • Examples (practical and/or personal)
  • Analogies (e.g. “The structure of an atom is similar to that of the solar system.”)
  • Comparisons and/or contrasts
  • Word origin (meanings of prefix, suffix, root)
  • Drawings or diagrams