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Assessments as a means of selection have been around for a really long time. Pen-and-paper-based test has been the norm before the advent of computers. With computers and other digital gadgets sweeping over every aspect of our lives, can assessments be far behind! Computer-based test, or CBT in short, comes with huge potential benefits when compared to traditional assessment methods. Though there is a lot of concern about accuracy, validity, security, integrity and quality of CBT tests,  a closer look will clear the doubts and bring forth the numerous benefits.

A computer-based test offers a host of benefits in every sector it is used, including education, government and corporate sector. It is also beneficial to all the parties involved such as the candidates, administrators, assessors, proctors, selectors and so on. As educational institutions move towards adopting a convenient way of accessing students’ knowledge and understanding; the need to understand the basic concept behind computer based test is of paramount important.

The corporate sector has been quite enthusiastic and forthcoming in embracing computer-based test as a means of selecting candidates for open job positions. It acts as a first level of screening when there are a huge number of applicants. The assessment also helps shortlist candidates with the right talent and skills eligible for a face-to-face interview.

A CBT test is delivered using computers and can also be delivered via the Internet on specific assessment platforms. It allows for location and time flexibility both to the candidates as well as examination bodies, thereby bringing down the cost, time, effort and expense involved in the examination process.

Computer Based Test

A computer-based test, also known as CBT, refers to delivering assessments with computers as an alternative to using the pen-paper method. Such a test can be conducted online using the internet or a computer-aided facility. These are online examinations that are attended physically in centres through the aid of computers connected to the internet. It has been adopted around the world across IT, education, medical and university admissions.

  • In computer-based testing (CBT), computer technology is employed, which means the candidates use computers to answer questions presented on the monitor.
  • The test-taker submits the answer using a keyboard or a mouse.
  • The computer which the test taker is using can be referred to as a client computer.
  • In contrast, the computer used for delivering the exam while being connected on an intranet/internet is referred to as a server computer.
  • Therefore, computer-based exams take place in a client-server environment.

Feature of Computer Based Test (CBT Exam)

Computer based exam means you have to give exam on computer, it may be based on software or directly on website or at exam centre. Computer Based Test automates the time-consuming task, marking, and monitoring process. Through the Computer Based Test, students can check their progress through the assessment or test. It consists of a wide range of activities such as marking, delivery, and analyzing.

  • Multiple Role Based Authentication
  • All Questions types
  • Prevent Cheating Methods
  • Mobile/Laptop Usage
  • AI Based Analysis
  • High Accuracy Assessment
  • Report Generation

Advantages of Using Computer Based Tests

Let us take a closer look at the advantages of these tests:

  • Flexibility in test delivery: administration and distribution of a computer-based test can be managed to suit the unique testing needs of the examination board. It may be a one-day test distribution, any time test distribution or anything in between, depending upon the administrative approach and testing strategy.
  • Improved candidate reach: Delivered via the Internet or a specific computer, a CBT test online helps remove the geographical barriers and reach more candidates. Thus, the online test saves time, money and effort of the candidates as well as the examining authority.
  • Enriched results analysis: Unlike pen-and-paper testing that captures only the candidate’s responses, a computer-based test can gather plenty of valuable information. Data such as start and end time, break periods, time spent on each item, group, section and on the overall test, the sequence of questions answered and of course, the candidate responses are readily available. This information helps in arriving at a better judgement about the candidate.
  • Streamlined process: Paper-based testing involves a lot of preparation starting months prior to the exam date to ensure smooth conduct. Tasks such as securing facilities, hiring invigilators, designing and printing of the test papers and ensuring their security and storage to maintain the exam integrity keep the exam administrators on their toes before the exam. Once the exam is over, retrieval, scanning and marking of the test papers, analyzing, preparing and delivering the result occupy the entirety of the exam bodies. Many of these tasks can be automated and the processes improved to free up the administrators to concentrate on important tasks.    
  • Quick delivery of results: The possibility of instant scoring, especially in the case of multiple-choice question-based exams, help the exam body prepare and deliver results quickly.
  • Test integrity: Remote proctoring and other security features make computer-based testing extremely secure allowing for the test integrity to be maintained.
  • Helpful for candidates with disability: Screen readers, magnification tools, text-to-voice and voice-to-text applications, Braille keyboards and other such tools help the differently-abled candidates to take up the tests more conveniently as compared to a pen-and-paper test.

Applications of Computer Based Tests

Computer-based tests can be used for any examinations or during a mass recruitment process that has examinations as one of the rounds or an elimination / screening process. They help keep the candidate pool manageable and significantly improve the quality of assessments.

For Corporates, these tests can also be used by the management to help in employee career progression. By identifying employee strengths and weaknesses, the L&D department can produce suitable training programs for workforce development. An up-to-date workforce keeps the company future-ready.

How Computer Based Test works

  • Create and organize content
  • Design and define assessments
  • Create exam schedule and deliver question papers
  • Serve tests and monitor exams
  • Analyze and generate reports

Steps to move from Paper-Based Test to Computer-Based Test

The world has moved from paper and pens to the digital world and so has the world of education. Even though in schools, the children are first taught to form the alphabets on notebooks, once they reach college, most of the assignments and tests are conducted on the digital platform.

Since the computer-based tests (CBT) have many advantages, JEE Mains, BITSAT and CAT exams also have shifted their mode of exam to computer-based exams.

What are the Steps to move from PBT to CBT

  • Consider making the switch from PBT to CBT
  • Conduct extensive research
  • Create a well-defined project
  • Review and make changes as necessary

Learn More

Still curious? Click here to find out Steps to move from Paper-Based Test to Computer-Based Test

MeritTrac Platforms for Computer Tests

MeritTrac is a leader in the field of designing and administering computer-based tests. CodeTrac, SmartTest, Pariksha, SpeechTrac, Learning Branch, SSPQ and MSP are a few of our assessment platforms that can be used across the sectors. They come with several common and specific features to make assessments convenient, quick, efficient and precise. Adaptable test catalogues, remote assessment administration, remote proctoring, complete analysis, precise reporting, mobile and cloud readiness and plug and play are features shared across the platforms.



1. What is a computer based test?

A. The use of computers as a medium to deliver the tests as opposed to pen and paper is called a computer-based test. These tests can be delivered online via the internet or using specific computer systems in a facility.

2. What are the applications of a computer-based test in the corporate sector?

A. A computer-based test is used during the recruitment process as well as for workforce development in the corporate sector.

3. How does a CBT test help in the hiring and recruitment process?

A. Companies use a computer-based test to assess and select candidates for open job positions. The test acts as an effective first level of screening, especially in case of huge number of applicants and helps select candidates with the right talent and skills for a face-to-face interview.

4. What are the advantages of conducting a CBT test online during hiring and recruitment?

A. A CBT test online allows a company to reach candidates anywhere across geographical locations. By shortlisting candidates with the right skills and talent, the online test saves the time, effort and expense involved for both the parties.

5. What is the role of such a test in workforce development?

A. A computer-based test can be used by the L&D department to identify the strengths and weaknesses of the workforce in general as well as for individual employees. The findings can then be used to develop suitable training programs and help with employee career progression.