Online Exam Strategies

Online Exam Strategies

If you’re new to online courses, you might be writing your first online exams. While online and in-class exams are similar in many ways, there are also a few important differences to note. The most important difference is that online exams are done on computers. 

Online testing procedures might be different at different educational institutions. It’s important to make plans to take your online test well before the test date. Be sure to consider the following questions: 

  • Do I have a test to write in my course? 
  • When do I write this test? 
  • Where can I write it? 
  • How far in advance do I need to book? 
  • What exam forms do I need to submit and where do I find them?
  • Do I need a test supervisor? (Proctor / Invigilator)
  • How much time do I have to write it?
  • What materials can I bring with me?
  • Do I need to arrange transportation to the testing site?
  • What happens if I need to cancel?
  • What happens if I have technology problems? 

Here are some tips to keep in mind: 

To minimize computer problems, use a computer you’re familiar with. The one at home or at work is probably best. Make sure your computer is in good working order before you write your quiz or exam. 

If possible, practice logging in to the exam site before the test so you know you have the correct link and passwords (if needed). 

  • Look for examples, instructions, or videos for your Learning Management System, like these videos for Canvas. 
  • Before you take your exam, look for information on what to do if the exam is interrupted by computer or internet breakdowns. 

Some online exams may need to be proctored or invigilated. In this case, there needs to be someone available to administer and supervise the exam while you write it. Contact testing services at your college well before your exam date to find out the following information: 

  • What are the procedures for requesting exams? 
  • Who can invigilate an exam? 
  • What are the approved locations? 
  • Is there a fee for Testing Services? 
  • What photo ID will I need for writing an exam? 
  • How soon will I need to give notice of intent to write an exam? 
  • Do I need to bring materials or other supplies with me? 
  • What technical requirements will I need to write the exam (e.g., internet connection speed, software or programs, and so on)? 

Before the exam has started, find out the technical workings and rules of the exam; ask questions such as: 

  • Can I move back and forth between questions or sections? 
  • How much time do I have overall and on each section. Is there a built-in timer on the exam? 
  • Where and how do I input my answers? 
  • How do I correct errors or change answers? 
  • What do I do if I have a technical problem? 
  • What am I able to have with me, such as textbooks, calculator, notes, paper and so on? 

Once you’re comfortable with the technical workings of the exam, you can relax and begin your exam. 

For more tips on writing online exams, check out this handout. 

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