Online Exam Strategies

If you are new to online courses, you may be writing your first online exam. While there are many similarities to in-class exams, there are also a few important differences. The most important difference is that online exams are done on computers.

Here are some tips to keep in mind:

  1. To minimize computer problems, use a computer with which you are familiar. 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.

  2. 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.
  3. 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 in advance of 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)?
  4. 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 are 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.