The Dos and Don'ts of an Online Exam

Online exams are the new normal. Many organizations adopted this modern approach to evaluating and assessing knowledge very suddenly as a result of the pandemic. As remote learning continues to expand, you should have an online exam strategy that’s focused on security, integrity, and support.

Here are some expert tips to help you optimize online exams for test-takers and exam administrators.

Do: Give clear instructions

Anytime an organization wants to leverage remote technology and learning, clear communication to learners is vital. When developing and administering online exams, take the time to create thoughtful communication that assists test-takers at every stage. Provide clear, written instructions ahead of the exam that are easily accessible to learners.

For example, are test-takers allowed to use their own notes or solicit help online? Is the exam timed? What is the exam structure and grading scale? Providing as much information as possible up front helps test-takers feel more comfortable and supported.

Do: Use seamless technology you can trust

The success of an online course and exam hinges on the technology you’re using. Even the most well-thought-out courses and exams can go awry without dependable technology to actually administer the exam.

Many options are available to deliver information and assessments to learners. Most organizations that offer online exams, whether they are higher education institutions, certification, and licensing bodies, government entities, or private businesses, use at least two primary pieces of technology:

(1) a learning management system (LMS) (like Canvas, Blackboard, or Moodle) or test delivery platform (like Gauge by, DigitalChalk, or Udutu), and
(2) online proctoring software to add rigor to the exam process.

These technologies should complement one another and work together seamlessly, for both test-takers and exam administrators alike.

Do: Work with an experienced partner to develop exams

Most exam administrators, even experienced university faculty, have limited experience with remote exams since this is a relatively new process for everyone. Fortunately, there are testing professionals who have spent their entire careers developing best practices for online exams.

For best results, work with an experienced partner to develop your online exams. A testing expert can help you with every aspect of your exams, from reducing and eliminating test bias to evaluating the best technology for your organization.

Do: Leverage remote proctoring

If you’re offering online exams of any kind, remote proctoring is a must-have. Remote proctoring solutions accomplish a host of goals around the online exam process, including identification verification, deterring cheating, reducing exam anxiety in test-takers, and streamlining the online exam process overall.

Such solutions come in many different shapes and sizes, so it’s important to thoroughly vet potential solutions to determine which ones are best for you, your test-takers, and your organization. In particular, be sure to ask any remote proctoring solution provider about their onboarding process, support hours, and response time for tech support requests.

Remote proctoring may be fully automated (relying on AI to verify test-taker’s identities and flag suspicious behavior), or you can opt for human-assisted proctoring, a technology-first approach that is bolstered by human auditor support. Human-assisted proctoring is ideal for any exam that is medium- to high-stakes.

Don’t: Forget about using a secure browser for your exams

Most online exams today are either completely web-based, or at least include elements that incorporate the internet. If that’s the case, investing in a secure web browser is a wise move. Secure browsers allow test-takers to leverage the web for exams, and administrators can limit certain browsing functions such as copying/pasting, printing, and opening new tabs. This works as an effective deterrent for any unethical behavior during your exams.

Don’t: Leave test-takers waiting when they need support

Exams are stressful, and test-takers often have questions or concerns as they get started on their exams. As an exam administrator, it’s important to be mindful of potential questions that may arise and to provide test-takers with clear instructions on how to get help. Look for an exam and online proctoring platform that comes with best-in-class technical support. All questions and concerns should be addressed within two minutes so as not to disrupt the test-taking process.

Don’t: Launch online exams without proctoring

Online exams have become the new norm for many organizations. Don’t make the mistake of proceeding without online proctoring in place. Online proctoring is an easy plugin that adds security and rigor to your exam process. It includes identity verification as well as deterrents for unethical behavior. Find a best-in-class online proctoring solution that integrates seamlessly with your LMS or testing platform, or one that works well as a standalone solution.

Set your organization up for online exam success

Online exams are still new for many test-takers and exam administrators. That makes choosing user-friendly solutions and working with experienced online proctoring experts all the more important.

Make online exams easy and secure with our best-in-class online proctoring software. Schedule your free demo today.

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