We need to have two machines for exams with no access to any other application other than Microsoft Word. Is there any easy way how to achieve this? Preferred free solution if possible.

Before you shout "Parental Controls" - I have tried these and it kind of worked but not always and it is prompting for application to run (which is fine but some just keeps asking over and over).

  • Which version of macOS are you using?
    – nohillside
    Commented Jan 9, 2017 at 14:11
  • Related: apple.stackexchange.com/questions/177574/…
    – nohillside
    Commented Jan 9, 2017 at 14:12
  • Sorry, I have tested it on macOS Sierra where it worked little better but not perfect. El Capitan - I had little success, some apps were blocked but others not at all (I have unticked them in Parental Controls settings). Problem is that all our machines are El Cap apart from one I was using for testing. Commented Jan 9, 2017 at 14:19
  • 1
    Yeah, Parental Controls (or a config profile, perhaps from an MDM) is probably the best answer here. May be better to focus on what's wrong with that solution. What do you mean it doesn't always work? And what's it prompting for?
    – MacManager
    Commented Jan 9, 2017 at 22:03
  • It prompts application to run (eg. Sophos Antivirus, MS Office Daemons etc... ) But it even when clicking always and confirm it with username and password (admin account) it keeps prompting over and over. Commented Jan 10, 2017 at 11:05

1 Answer 1


The easiest way to get a mode on a Mac for students taking tests is to create a second user (my school has a second user called Take Test) where they only allow access to certain apps (TextEdit, Pages, and a Dropbox thing they set up) using parental controls. Then, just have students sign out of their main account and sign into that test taking user before they take a test.

To create that second user, go to System Preferences -> Users & Groups -> + and create a user. Then, for that new test-taking user, hit the Open Parental Controls in the right pane, hit Limit Applications on This Mac, and choose the applications from the list which you'd like to allow the students to use while they take a test.

  • What prevents the students from logging back into their standard account? Obviously watching them would do it, but that would take care of the original problem too.
    – Tuesday
    Commented Jan 10, 2017 at 2:05
  • @timothymh Nothing more than trust! But honestly there's no real way to start blocking your students from most of their Mac's functions remotely by class by time (like if one English class has to take a test today at 11, it'd be hard to lock those students taking the test from their main account/usual apps without a huge staff of roving tech teachers). There's just no practical way to completely sure they can't cheat without doing my method on a separate Mac with no other users that the students know the password to.
    – owlswipe
    Commented Jan 10, 2017 at 2:12

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