online exam tips

Tips for Taking Online Exams

Updated By Staff Writer on March 17, 2021

Are you new to taking tests online? If so, you might be wondering: what challenges might present themselves when taking an online test?

Online tests can be very convenient and efficient, but it also takes some time to adapt to this testing style. You might experience technical difficulties with the testing platform, have a slow internet connection, or even be more tempted to search the internet for answers to the test questions.

How Do Online Exams Work?

Many of today’s online exams require you to download a certain platform or software in order to take the test. You’re also likely to get a login and password, or you might even need to take a webcam photo to verify your identity.

Each online exam will have different rules on using notes and resources, so make sure you’re aware of what those are before you begin. Some tests might be open book and open note, while others might be closed book. If you’re taking a test with a proctor software, you won’t be able to leave the webpage you’re on. If you do, the tool will monitor your activity and you will be held accountable.

When you finish your exam, the software will send the test in for review and you could get your results within a few days.

Time Management Tips For Online Tests

It’s natural to feel nervous about your first few online tests. But you’ll feel much more at ease once you learn some test-taking strategies for online classes:

  1. Read Carefully. You might think you’ll save time by skimming questions, but you may end up wasting more time if you don’t understand what’s being asked. Read questions and descriptions carefully to prevent mistakes.
  2. Keep Moving. Don’t know an answer right away? Rather than sitting and stewing over it, keep moving. Mark the question and come back to it if you have time at the end. Fretting over a single question can cost you time for the rest of the test.
  3. Use the Process of Elimination. If you’re not sure about the answer to a multiple-choice question, use the process of elimination to boost your chances of getting it right. Look for the wrong answers and then work it down to the ones that are the most correct.
  4. Rephrase the Question. Some test questions can seem long-winded and overly complicated. Simplify the problem by rephrasing the question in your own words before you put down an answer.
  5. Review Your Answers. It’s important to save a few minutes for reviewing your answers at the end of the test. You don’t want to lose points because of a careless mistake! Make sure you have answered every question as best as you can.
  6. Keep an Eye on the Clock. When it comes to online tests, time is of the essence. Keep an eye on the clock and make sure you’re keeping a steady pace.
  7. Stay Calm With Technical Issues. If you ever experience a glitch in the testing platform, stay calm. Screenshot the issue and contact someone for help right away.

Related Content: 7 Study Hacks Proven to Help You Focus

Ethics of Online Exams

When you’re taking a test in the classroom, you probably wouldn’t dream of pulling out a phone or textbook to look up answers. But when you’re alone with your computer at home, the prospect of cheating is a little more tempting.

Some faculty members may use tools like LockDown Browser to ensure you’re not opening up other web pages to get answers. But even if you’re not required to use this tool, it’s important to exercise integrity when taking online tests.

It’s best to find out what resources your professor allows for the exam, then stick to those resources. Cheating will only lead to bigger problems in the long run. Many schools have a zero tolerance policy towards cheating, and it could result in you being expelled from the school.

It’s natural to fear failure, and it’s understandable to want to avoid it. However, failing on an exam isn’t the end of your education. It might be possible to work with your instructor and have a do-over exam, or work for extra credit. This possibility is open to you if you are willing to work hard and show that you care about your education, regardless of how you perform on tests.

Get More Tips

Still struggling with online exams? Independence University has a wealth of student resources to help your online education. Check out IU's student support center for more information and find out how you could improve your studying.