Online Exams: what to expect on exam day
04 July, 2022
Almost all certifying entities now offer students the possibility to take their certification exams online (Proctored Online), so that they do not have to go to an exam center to take the exam. However, there are still rules that need to be followed, and to help you understand if this is the best solution for you, we've put together some information about what to expect on the day, as well as some tips to help you do your best with the least amount of stress.
Before exam day
- A few days before the exam carefully read all the instructions you received about your exam to see if there is anything special you need to prepare.
- Choose and prepare your exam space:
- Choose a room with good lighting and where you feel comfortable;
- Make sure you take your exam in a place where you won’t be interrupted for the entire duration of the exam, either by coworkers (if you take the exam at work) or by family, pets, or delivery people (if you take the exam at home).
- Prepare the room so that as few items as possible are in plain view of the exam proctor. Move what you can to other rooms and cover bookshelves, desks, monitors, TVs, and other equipment with sheets. The goal is to make your exam room as empty as possible, as this not only protects your privacy but also helps the proctor validate your exam room.
- Check the webcam placement. For the duration of the exam, you must have a camera focused on your face at all times, which is usually the webcam on the computer from which you are taking the exam. Some certification entities may also require a second camera, usually a cell phone or a tablet, to show the environment. Proctors may ask for some changes in the positioning of cameras and devices, so try to be flexible.
- Decide where to place approved materials for your exam: If your exam allows reference materials, place them in view of one of the webcams. Other devices such as cell phones, watches, or headphones should be placed out of your reach.
- Anticipate the software installation process and test the system. This can be done during the check-in process, but we recommend that you do it beforehand, in case you need to make any adjustments. Go to the website for your online exam and follow the steps to download and install the software and perform the system, webcam, and microphone tests. Close all other apps on your computer, as the certification software may not start if other apps or browsers are open.
- Finally, don't pull an all-nighter the night before, try to get a good night's sleep, and eat enough, to be alert and energetic.
On exam day
Entering the online exam session:
- Access your online exam center 20-30 minutes before the scheduled time, so you have enough time to do your check-in.
- Don't forget to close all other apps and notifications on your computer, just as you did during the system and software testing process.
- During the check-in process, you will be asked to take a picture of yourself, of the front and back of your ID card, and of your surroundings.
- The software will then begin to work and connect you to the proctor. This process may take a few minutes (15 minutes maximum). If there are no questions, your exam will begin immediately. You may also receive a message asking you to show your room or make some adjustments. Again, the cleaner the room, the faster this process will be.
During the exam:
- The exam is monitored by a proctor through the student's webcam and microphone. Keep in mind that any misconduct may be grounds for cancellation of your exam.
- No one can enter your exam room, and you can only leave it if your exam rules allow for breaks. Prepare yourself so that you are comfortable and do not have to leave for the entire duration of the exam.
- Eating and drinking is usually not allowed, although in some cases a bottle of water may be allowed. Check the specific rules for your exam.
- The proctor may interrupt your exam or send you a message via chat if he feels something is not right. Avoid putting your hands in front of your face, constantly putting your hands in your pockets, talking, or reading the questions aloud. These are all reasons to stop the exam.
- You will always have a counter that tells you how much time you have left to take your exam, so you don't need to set any clocks or alarms.
- At the end of your exam, you just need to click 'finish'. Please note that you cannot review or go back once you have finished. The software will close, and you may be asked to complete a survey to evaluate your experience.
Now it’s time to celebrate with your family and friends and don’t forget to announce your new certification to the rest of the world. Good luck!
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