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This step-by-step guide will help you prepare for your virtual simulated office oral (SOO) examination and ensure you have the information you need to have your computer set up correctly.

It is important that you complete all checks using the same laptop or desktop computer you will use on the day of the exam and in the same location.

After reading the guide and completing your checks, if you still have concerns about your set-up, your device, or access to a stable Internet connection please contact the Certification and Examination department at [email protected] as soon as possible.

Some common terminologies used in this guide are:
  • Practique: virtual SOO platform used for conducting the exams
  • OS: Operating system
  • RAM: Random access memory

Minimum requirements and system checks

Device requirements

Candidates must ensure that their device is prepared and carry out the relevant system checks in advance of the examination.
  1. Required equipment
    • Practique works well on a laptop (Windows or Mac) or desktop computer. If you are using a laptop, always ensure it is fully charged and connected to a power source.
    • A webcam and audio access are essential for the video calls; you need a working internal or external webcam and microphone.
  2. Operating system and storage
    • Candidates should have an up-to-date OS for their device installed and have sufficient disk space.
      • Windows: minimum Windows 7
      • Mac: minimum 10.12 Sierra
Note: There is further information about how to check these in Checking your set-up and device > Updating the iOS (Mac), below.
  • Sufficient hard drive storage space
    • Minimum 20 GB free space on the desktop/laptop
  • Minimum RAM requirements
    • Desktop and laptop 4 GB minimum
    • Desktop and laptop 8 GB recommended

Browser requirements

  1. Browser version
    • You must have the latest version of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, or Edge installed on the device you are using.
  2. Internet connection minimum requirements
    • A stable Internet connection and sufficient bandwidth are required
      • 500 kbps upload and 1.6 Mbps download
Note: You should not use a hotspot connection.

You can test your connection speeds at Speedtest.

Note: Candidates who intend to take their examination in the workplace must check with their local IT department to ensure external web links can be accessed and are not blocked by the network firewall. In this event, Practique will need to be whitelisted by your IT support team.
 

Amazon Chime readiness check

Practique uses Amazon Chime to deliver the video streaming connection for the examination. Use the link below to perform a system test, which must be completed successfully before your examination. We suggest you do this as soon as possible and again at least twice in the days leading up to your examination. On the day of the exam, repeat the Amazon Chime readiness check on the browsers that you have on your computer.
  1. Go to Amazon Chime System Test to open the readiness check.
  2. Follow the on-screen instructions.
  3. You should see a completion screen with 0 errors. If there are any errors, then check your set-up and run the test again.
    • Note: You do not need to download Chime at the end of the test. Close the browser window when you have completed the test.
Amazon Chime screenshot
Amazon Chime success screenshot

Checking your set-up and device

 

Clearing website data

Clearing data, or your browser cache, should ensure the latest page(s) on a website are loaded, help speed up your browser performance, and free some space on your computer.
 

Safari – Mac

  1. Open the Safari app on your Mac, choose 'History' from the menu bar.
  2. Select 'Clear History' then click the pop-up menu.
  3. Choose how far back you want your browsing history cleared (we recommend clearing all).
  4. Select 'Clear Data.'

Chrome – Computer

  1. On your computer, open Chrome.
  2. At the top right, click ‘Customize and control Google Chrome’ (represented by the three vertical dots in the upper right corner).
  3. Click ‘More tools’ and select ‘Clear browsing data.’
  4. At the top, choose a time range. To delete everything, select ‘All time’ (recommended).
  5. Check "Cookies and other site data" and "Cached images and files."
  6. Click 'Clear data.'

Firefox – Computer

  1. Click the Library button (four vertical lines in the top right), click ‘History,’ and then click ‘Clear Recent History.’
  2. Select how much history you want to clear (we recommend you clear all data).
  3. Use the check boxes to select what information you want to clear from your history (we recommend you clear all data).
  4. Click ‘Clear Now.’ The window will close and the items you've selected will be cleared from your history.

Allowing pop-ups

 

Safari - Mac

  1. On your computer, open Safari
  2. From the Safari menu, choose ‘Preferences’... and click the Security tab.
  3. Ensure the Block pop-up windows option is not checked. Unchecking this option will allow pop-ups.

Chrome – Computer

  1. On your computer, open Chrome.
  2. At the top right, click ‘Customize and control Google Chrome’ (represented by the three vertical dots in the upper right corner) then click ‘Settings.’
  3. Under 'Privacy and security' click ‘Site Settings.’
  4. Click ‘Pop-ups and redirects.’
  5. Choose ‘Sites can send pop-ups and use redirects’

Firefox – Computer

  1. On your computer, open Firefox.
  2. In the Menu bar at the top of the screen, click ‘Firefox and select Preferences.’
  3. Select the ‘Privacy & Security’ panel and go to the ‘Permissions’ section.
  4. Make sure that ‘Block pop-up windows’ is not checked.

Updating the browser

 

Before the exam:

Ensure you have the latest version of at least two of the following browsers on your computer: Chrome, Safari or Firefox.
 

Safari

There are two ways you can update your browser:
  • The first is for newer Macs (OS Mojave or newer). You can update your Safari by simply updating your OS.
  • The second is for older Macs (OS High Sierra or older), where you need to update Safari through the App Store.

Newer Macs

  1. On the desktop, click on the Apple logo in the top left of the screen. Then select ‘System Preferences.’
  2. Click ‘Software Update,’ which is represented with a gear icon. Your computer will automatically check for any available updates.
  3. If there are any upgrades available, click ‘Upgrade Now’ to make the updates. If it is an OS update it will automatically update your Safari browser.

Older Macs

  1. Go to the App Store by clicking on the Apple icon on your desktop in the top left corner.
  2. Click ‘Updates’ to see all the apps that have updates available.
  3. Look for Safari in the list and click on ‘Update.’ If Safari does not appear, then there is no update currently available.

Chrome

  1. Open the Google Chrome browser.
  2. Click ‘Customize and control Google Chrome’ (represented by the three vertical dots in the upper right corner).
  3. From the pop-up menu that appears, select ‘Help,’ then select ‘About Google Chrome.’
  4. The window that appears will automatically check for updates and show you the current version of Chrome.

Firefox

  1. Open the Firefox browser.
  2. Click the menu option in the top right corner.
  3. Click 'Options.'
  4. Click 'Advanced.'
  5. Click 'Update.'

Updating the operating system

 

Mac

  1. Plug your device into power and connect to the Internet with Wi-Fi.
  2. Go to the Apple menu and choose ‘System Preferences.’
  3. Click ‘Software Update.’
    • Tip: You can also choose Apple menu > About This Mac, then click ‘Software Update.’

Windows

  1. Right-click the Start menu and select ‘Search’ in the pop-up menu.
  2. Type ‘About’ and press Enter when ‘About your PC’ appears.
  3. Scroll down to Windows specifications to see which version (Edition) is currently installed.
  4. If you do not have the minimum OS (Windows 7) installed, you must purchase/update as soon as possible.

Checking hard drive (HDD) storage

 

Mac

  1. Open the Apple menu, then select ‘About This Mac.’
  2. Click the Storage tab in the toolbar to see how much disk space you have available. On OS X Mountain Lion or Mavericks, click the ‘More info’ button, then click ‘Storage.’

Windows

  1. Open File Explorer. You can use the keyboard shortcut—Windows key + E—or click the folder icon in the task bar.
  2. Click ‘This PC’ from the left pane.
  3. You can see the amount of free space on your hard disk under the Windows (C:) drive, in the right pane.

Checking RAM

 

Mac

  1. Open the Apple menu.
  2. Click on the Apple logo in the top-left corner of your screen and select ‘About This Mac.’ On the Overview tab, the Memory line lists the amount of RAM in GB. Ensure you have at least 4 GB; we recommend 8 GB.

Windows

  1. Right-click the Start menu and select ‘Search’ in the pop-up menu.
  2. Type ‘About’ and press Enter when ‘About your PC’ appears.
  3. Scroll down, and under device specifications, see ‘Installed RAM.' Ensure you have at least 4 GB; we recommend 8 GB.

Maximizing available RAM

 

Mac

  1. For disabling auto-start software, on your Mac go to ‘Apple’ then ‘System Preferences.’
  2. Go to 'Users & Groups' then 'Login Items' and remove all items from the “These items will open automatically when you login” by selecting an item, and using the ‘-’ button underneath the box.
    • Note - After removing the auto-start items, you should reboot your computer.

Windows

  1. Click the Start menu.
  2. Select Settings > Apps > Startup.
  3. Disable all apps for automatic start-up.
If you do not see the Startup option in Settings:
  1. Right-click ‘Start.’
  2. Select ‘Task Manager.’
  3. Select the ‘Startup’ tab. If you do not see the tab, select the ‘Details’ tab.
FAQ about virtual simulated office oral examinations

Virtual simulated office oral candidate training resources
 

 

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