* About: Secure Exams

Service overview | Who can use it | How to request & access | Cost | Availability | FAQs | Best practices & policies | Training & documentation | Support

Service overview

McGill University supports two options for conducting secure exams: Respondus LockDown Browser and ExamSoft. The main reason for using secure testing software is to allow students to complete exams on a computer without being able to access any other materials on that computer during the exam.

Respondus Lockdown Browser

This browser can be installed in designated computer labs or on students’ personal computers for use during invigilated exams delivered via the myCourses Quiz tool.

To complete the exam: Students navigate to the online exam in myCourses and click on Launch LockDown Browser - where they view and answer the exam questions online. Since it is a lockdown environment, students cannot navigate away from the quiz.


This software can be used independently from myCourses and has an auto-save option for essay questions, however, your department must pay a fee per student to use it.

To complete the exam: Students install the SofTest application on their laptops, log into it with the credentials provided, and open the exam question file. Students type their answers in a secure word-processor to produce the equivalent of a paper exam booklet, which gets "collected" as an encrypted file at the end of the exam.

Who can use this service

Any McGill instructor may request to use this service.

How to request & access the service

Instructors should send a request to the IT Service Desk before the beginning of the term.

Once the request is processed, instructors will be contacted with all necessary information, including information they will need to provide students regarding use of software.


There is no cost associated with Respondus LockDown Browser. ExamSoft comes at a cost to your department per student per semester.


Respondus LockDown Browser
This browser is currently installed on computers in the following computer labs:

Frequently asked questions

Do I need to use myCourses to use Respondus LockDown Browser?
Yes. Respondus LockDown Browser can only be used for quizzes in myCourses.

How do I enable Respondus LockDown Browser for a quiz in myCourses?

  1. Go to Quizzes.
  2. Click LockDown Browser at the top of the page.
  3. Click the icon to the left of the quiz title and select Modify Settings.
  4. Select Require Respondus LockDown Browser for this exam.
  5. Click Save and Close

What is the difference between Respondus 4 and Respondus LockDown Browser?
Respondus 4 commonly refers to the quiz authoring software that can be used to create questions for paper-based exams or assessments in myCourses. LockDown Browser is a secure testing software made by the same company.

I don't have a laptop. How can I use ExamSoft?
If you are a Law student, you can borrow a laptop from the audiovisual equipment loans desk at 688 Sherbrooke (room 285). The Law Student Affairs Office provides detailed instructions regarding laptop exam procedures. You must contact them for any laptop exam questions or technical issues.


Best practices & policies

Before the beginning of the term, instructors must send their requests for the service to IT Service Desk. Once processed, all necessary information regarding the deployment will be provided to instructors to pass on to students.

At the beginning of term, instructors should announce their intention to use secure testing in their course outline and explain the goals. Students should be informed of whether and how to install any software on their computers.

Instructors should also make sure they have an alternative plan for testing, should technical difficulties arise during the exam.

Training & documentation

Self-serve resources:

Any further information and guidelines to students can be provided by instructors.


For set up and troubleshooting issues, contact the IT Service Desk.

For assistance in setting up and using the software, request a one-on-one consultation.