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Photo of Sarah Henderson's face

Test Timer

A countdown timer to display to students in test and exam rooms.

Created for The University of Auckland Department of Accounting and Finance in 2012
Technologies: C#, WPF


The traditional method of marking time in tests and exams has been to write up a time for every 15 minute interval on a whiteboard and then cross them off as they pass. In addition, it is usually marked up with indicators of when students are allowed to leave (typically not in the first half, or the last few minutes).

Since all test rooms at the University of Auckland are now equipped with computers and overhead projectors, several departments had adopted electronic countdown timers to be displayed on screen. The Department of Accounting and Finance wanted an automated that matched exactly the requirements of their tests. The features they wanted included:

  • Countdown showing minutes and seconds remaining
  • Displaying the test start and end times
  • Ability to pause during the test (and have the time extended by the length of the pause)
  • Configurable periods during which students may not leave at the start or the end of the test
  • Messages telling students when they may and may not leave
  • Configurable amount of reading time at the start of the test
  • Message telling students they must have pens down during reading time
  • Message at the end telling students to remain seated until dismissed
  • Ability to reset the timer and start again after the test


The solution was a Windows application written in WPF & C# that can be run on any test room computer. It uses .NET framework 3 which was at that time part of Windows Update and so sure to be available.

The configuration is done in a small panel at the bottom of the screen. This is automatically hidden when the timer is started, but can be easily reopened by the test supervisors if they need to pause the test. Most of the text on the application is sized relative to the window size, so it shrinks and expands according to the space available.


Timer Configuration

Timer showing reading time

Timer showing students can leave within a certain time

Timer showing students can leave any time

Timer showing test finished


The timer was currently in use by the department at the time I left the University.