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What are some of the examination software errors?


With the daily advancements in technology, almost all human operations are becoming software-dependent. Let's say, shopping, banking, business interactions, and communication to education- assessment, testing, or examining learners in schools-all involve software at different points.

Unfortunately, the software may sometimes fail to deliver as expected. For instance, they may fail to load or delay the test and examination processing and sometimes experience technical drawbacks. These are some of the problems you may experience due to some errors, defects, or failures in the software.

Luckily, this article brings to your attention some of the exam software errors every tester should know. Plus, some terminologies are used when the software fails to function as expected.

Understanding software errors

Errors are mistakes or deviations from correctness or accuracy. And software errors are failures, defects, or faults in a computer system that would result in unexpected results.

Software errors can result from human omission or data entry during any stage of the software development, causing a variance of actual results from the expectations for the developer or user.  

Before discussing the types of exam software errors, let’s take a look at some standard terms related to software errors:

·         Defects/fault/bug

·         Failures

What are defects in testing?

Defects are system errors that don't allow the completion of intended actions by the software users.  For instance, when there is a variance between the expected results and the actual results found, that error is known as a defect or fault.

For better understanding, defects in testing are the inabilities or the inefficiency of software to operate according to the specified criteria. These errors would subsequently prevent the software from your desire task.


Here are some types of defects

There are different bases on which defects can be categorized.

Defects on Severity basis

Severity basis defines the extent, intensity, or degree of the impact the fault has on the software and its operations. According to the vulnerability severity metrics, defects and faults fall the following are defects type of software.

Critical defects- these are faults that require immediate treatment considerations. They directly impact the essential functionalities of the software, which may lead to the failure of the entire software system.

Major defects- these are severe faults that affect the primary function of the software. These defects may not destroy the software system but might stop the most immediate features of a software.

Minor defects- these are defects that impact the software with less or no significant influence on the software and its products. The result of the minor defect may be visible. But, they would not prevent the tester from using or operating the software.

Defect on probability basis

This defect depends on the likelihood of a failure occurring. The possibility defect is classified on high, medium, or low probability. The flaws are increased if all the software application users can detect the presence of a failure.

Medium probability means that only half of the users can identify a possibility of a failure in software even if the signs are there. Also, defects can be low when no software user can detect a failure in a software system.  

Defects of priority basis

The need and demand to use technology determine their urgency. So, depending on the operational level or the user's needs to use technology, software, you must prioritize rectifying particular defects.

In other words, defects also present the business view of comparison as some faults would be urgent. If not rectified, the chances are high that the software would not work.

Here is the priority classification of defects:

Defects can either be of the high, medium or low priority. High priority defects are the most critical faults that need you to correct as soon as they happen. Medium and low defects may not require immediate attention. But all the same, they must be rectified for the software's smooth operation.

 Finding the defects should be one of your essential tasks as a tester. And since they can be found throughout the entire processing time, it would be better to start software testing as earlier as possible. This would help you identify any fault or failure that may come in during the examination period.

But, first, how does failure relate to software defects? Failures are the observable and incorrect behavior of software which are in most cases are consequences of defects. They majorly occur when the software fails to function in its typical environment.

But, not all the defects would result in software failures. For instance, during the creation and the execution of a software code, a system may fail to perform as expected. This would be termed as a failure. However, some losses may remain inactive in the software, and you may never notice them, meaning there are no defects.  

Some software failures may be as a result of the following conditions:

·         Overheating or physical damage of the hardware that causes the whole software system to fail

·         Incompatibility of the software and the hardware may also cause unexpected performances and failures

·         Environmental conditions like magnetic solid and electronic fields, pollution, and radiation burst can also cause losses to software and hardware.

In short, some of the failures can result from user mistakes or errors causing defects. In contrast, others would be due to functionality reasons. So, what are some of the exam software errors every tester should know?

Common exam software errors

a)   Functionality errors

Software functionality is the ability of software to efficiently and effectively perform its designed functions. In most cases, the software would experience this type of error if you expect it to achieve something complex, awkward, impossible, or confusing.

In a more straightforward definition, functionality errors are those mistakes that affect how software functions or operates and make the software no compliant with desires functions. An excellent example of a functional error can be a total crush or non-reactions of the user input like keyboards, cameras, or any part of the exam software failing to work as expected.

To detect functionality errors, you can conduct functional testing to ensure that the software requirements and specifications are fit to run by the application used.

b)  Communication errors

These are errors that majorly occur due to miss understanding of the software communication or instructional gadgets. For instance, when a user cannot digest or understand a specific instruction from the manual of the software, they may perform some activities that can defect the operation of the software.

Another example of communication error can be syntactic errors due to being misspelled or grammatically incorrect. Therefore, before deciding to use any exam software, you must ensure that you understand every communication or instructional manual provided. Plus, ensure you follow the guidelines documented on the menu and give grammatically correct inserts.

c)      Performance errors

Software performance is key to user success. It helps determine usability in terms of speed, stability, and how fast it responds to different resources. And any defects that affect the rate of the software would significantly impact its performance.

To strengthen your online learning or exam-taking, you should ensure that you choose software with high speed or performance. You don't want software that would frustrate your teaching and user experience or abandonment.

d)  Missing commands and calculation errors

Missing commands are errors that occur due to the wrong keying of a specific command or when a command is missing in the execution's users' actions. To make things worse, there may be no option for you to exit or when the cancel button is not available. In this case, you miss a command.

On the other hand, calculation errors occur when there is data mismatch, wrong coding, incorrect formulae, or lousy logic cases during the examinations.

e)   Security errors

There are several issues in online examination systems. Among them are security errors that allow unauthorized persons to access or gain control of the examination software, thus getting the content of the test and exams. Some software security issues would result from non-compliance with the software requirements or omitting the conditions provided.

Therefore, you must ensure you watch out for the security errors and find ways to encrypt the content to avoid fraudulent access of the test and exam questions for manipulation. Or to prevent data integrity and confidentiality.

f)   Usability errors

How complex or complicated software is to a user can be a massive problem. So, when software is more enigmatic, it will undermine the user's experience, especially when dealing with a more complex interface that is hard to demystify.

Another factor that may result in usability errors is dealing with new software that involves lengthy and frustrating procedures. So, to avoid usability errors, ensure you know the context of every software you choose.


When you plan to use examination software to aid your online learning, ensure you get well conversant with some online software errors. This would help you manage any situation you may found yourself in a while giving exams. Therefore, watch out for usability, security, performance, communication, and functionality errors of exam software.


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