In Bluebook, if you use an external screen reader such as NVDA, you will use the typical/native commands you normally use to navigate a webpage. Most exam pages are structured with the following regions. Wherever applicable, a student can navigate with these regions/landmarks: 

  • Bluebook Controls 

  • Test Timer 

  • Test Tools  

  • Passage, Image, or Other Source Content 

  • Footnotes 

  • Referenced Content 

  • Long Description  

  • Question and Answer  

  • Question Number 

  • Answer Options 

  • Question Navigation 

In general, the following test components are defined with a heading: 

  • Test name 

  • Directions 

  • Passage title/poem title (when applicable), etc. 

  • Prompts for free-response questions (when applicable) 

  • Document title for document-based questions (when applicable) 

  • Algorithms and relevant steps (AP Computer Science Principles) 

Recommended Verbosity and Punctuation Settings 

Underlined Referenced Content Text 

Some questions within the SAT Reading and Writing section contain underlined text that is the focus of a question. The underlined sentences are structured as landmark regions and are identifiable and navigable with mainstream screen readers like JAWS, NVDA, VoiceOver, ChromeVox, and Narrator. 

Sample digital Reading and Writing question as represented in the Bluebook exam application with the underlined sentence highlighted in the passage, "His singularity implied a closer scrutiny" to indicate the region. The reference text, "underlined sentence" is highlighted in the question prompt.

Answer Options with Differing Punctuation 

Some questions within the SAT Reading and Writing section contain answer options that have varying punctuation characters. Some mainstream screen readers will not announce these punctuation characters by default. Users of screen readers like JAWS, NVDA, VoiceOver, ChromeVox, and Narrator must ensure that the punctuation settings are set correctly. 

Sample Reading and Writing question as represented in the Bluebook application. The passage includes a blank space for the answer options to provide the missing text. The answer options are highlighted to indicate the various punctuations in each option, which include: Option A falling colon; Option B falling semi-colon; Option C falling comma; Option D falling (no punctuation).

Configure the verbosity, punctuation, text processing, and other settings for each digital exam subject as needed. Configuration needs to be done before opening Bluebook to answer preview questions and again before exam day. Configurations must be in place before students begin the check-in process on exam day. On exam day, students won't be able to adjust these settings after entering the start code at the end of the check-in process. Follow these steps below: 

NVDA Screen Reader 

Adjust the voice profile, speaking rate, verbosity, and punctuation settings before test day.  

  • From the NVDA menu, go to Preferences and Settings (Insert + N > Preferences > Settings)

    • To set landmark and region announcements, choose Document Formatting in the list within the Settings dialog.  

    • Navigate to the Elements group and check (enable) Landmarks and regions 

	Navigate to the Elements group and check (enable) Landmarks and regions

  • To set Punctuation, choose the Speech category in the list within the Settings dialog.  

    • Navigate to the Punctuation/symbol level combo box.   

      • A higher level of punctuation can be helpful for proofreading and editing.  

      • Some students find a lower level is less distracting for more casual reading. 

Navigate to the Punctuation/symbol level combo box.

  • Alternatively, NVDA users can change punctuation settings without going through Settings by activating the keystrokes Insert + P.  

By default, the NVDA screen reader will only announce ellipses (e.g., ...) when punctuation settings are set to All. College Board Accessibility Compliance Office (ACO) recommends that NVDA users set the symbol/punctuation level of ellipses to Most.  

Symbol punctuation in NVDA can be adjusted to align with the speech punctuation. From the NVDA Settings (Insert + N > Preferences > Punctuation/symbol pronunciation), select Symbols to adjust the level and select an option as appropriate: 

  • Filter by the text ...

  • Navigate to the Level combo box and choose Most

  • Either All or Most is recommended for the SAT Reading and Writing section and AP Exams that contain ellipses 

Optional Bluebook Verbosity Settings

Some exam questions have formatted text that is bold, underlined, or italicized, but it is not imperative that the formatting be conveyed to users of screen readers. Nonetheless, the College Board offers the following settings for the following screen readers. These settings are not enabled by default but can be enabled at the user’s discretion so that text formats like bold, underlines, and italics are announced. 

The Document Formatting category in the NVDA Settings lets users choose from various font attributes.  The "Font attributes,” "Emphasis," and "Highlighted (marked text)" options are those that the College Board ACO has used when testing the Bluebook application and content like AP English Literature.  

To access the Document Format settings, press Insert + N > Preferences > Settings > Document Formatting.

The Document Formatting category in the NVDA Settings lets users choose from various font attributes.

Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Content 

Some STEM content within Bluebook exams may contain acronyms, chemical equations, camelCase, or PascalCase that need to be announced clearly or verbatim by screen readers. Below are specific screen reader commands that will announce capital letters distinctly with varying pitch or, depending on the screen reader and operating system, spell out the content character-by-character. 

NVDA Screen Reader 

Move (Drag) Calculator and Reference Sheet with Keyboard 

The built-in calculator and reference sheets in Bluebook can be moved with the keyboard. Navigate to the Move (Calculator or Reference) button with the Tab key. Place the Move button into a draggable or pressed state by pressing the Space bar or Enter key.   

Users of NVDA must pass through the Space bar or Enter keystrokes to put the button into a pressed state. 

  • Press Insert + Space for focus mode so the Enter or Space keys can put the Move button into a pressed state. 

  • Press Insert + Space again to return to browse mode.