Taking a virtual exam can be quite a perplexing adventure for some students. They are uncertain of what awaits them and are not sure of the tactics and skills they will be needing to help them put in their best performance.
The good news is that, most of the guidelines they require in taking an virtual exam are somewhat indistinguishable to those that they will take part in as they get set for an offline in-class exam. Although, the online scenario comes with some variations that calls for additional awareness and readiness.
Most departments make use of exam ethics tools such as LockDown Browser or exam surveillance software. Students need to be acquainted with the skills on how to use these tools.
Contained in their book E-Learning Companion: A Student’s Guide to Online Success, Fourth Edition, Ryan Watkins and Michael Corry recommended some guidelines to successful virtual exams, that student can follow. We have accommodated them below. You might decide to share this piece of advice with students.
Prepare Before the Virtual Exam
- Read and Comprehend the test instructions: Make sure you know the solution to these questions – will the exam occur at a particular date and time, or can you write the exam at any time within a specific period of time? What is the duration of the test? Do you have the option of taking the test at home or a specific location is required for you to take the exam (for example, a school I.T centre)? Does the instructor have any other key details and/or instructions?
- Understand the test plan: what is the type of question design that will be used by the examiner – multiple-choice questions (MCQ), fill in the gap, short answer, essay?
- Take a Mock Test: if there is a mock exam made available for you by the examiner, ensure that you take it. From your class textbook, you may also find other practice questions to prepare yourself.
- Check your computer: Shun eleventh-hour problems! Regardless of whether you’ll be using a self-owned computer or one in a cyber-lab, be sure that the necessary hardware and software are up-to-date prior to the exam. Also, ensure that the area where you will be taking the exam will have sufficient internet.
- Study the class papers: Despite the fact that the exam will take an open book format, study the class documents and materials just like you would do if the exam were to be taken in a classroom.
- Schedule your time: while you take the mock test, allocate the same duration of time as will be applied in the real exam, and take a decision on the amount of time you will allot to each question.
- Prepare a suitable test-friendly environment with less interference: put off all forms of notifications from your devices like phone, IM, and elsewhere such as email and other platforms. You can as well set them on a silent mode. Do this to your television set and radio, and inform your family and those around you of the exam you will be taking, to reduce any form of distraction or interference from them during the period of the exam.
- Decide when you will sit for the test: You may be required to sit for the exam at a particular time, nevertheless, depending on the duration of the availability of the exam (a few hours or days) pick out a time that will be best for you in terms of distraction, interference, stress, and even quality network.
- Get all that you’ll require to sit for the test: before the start of the virtual exam, ensure that all the materials you’ll need a pen, notebooks, (measuring and calculating devices, if allowed) are with you.
- Take a deep breath! Once you have logged in to commence the exam, pause a while and get focused.
During the Virtual exam: Concentrate
- Be alert on the clock: while on the test, keep an eye on the clock to alert you of the amount of time you have left on the test.
- Save and print copies of the test questions and your answers, if it is allowed by the examiner: this will be very useful especially if encounter technical issues during the test or if you find it challenges while trying to submit your answers.
- Do not log out of the test page: if you are allowed to look over other websites while the test is on, avoid using the same tab or copy of the browser you used for your exam, as this may cause you to lose all your work. Rather, you can open another browser or even use a different browser if you can, and then carry out your search.
- Are you having technical issues? Don’t panic: When you are faced with technical challenges, ensure that you notify your examiner at once. Provide him with details of the specific problem that has taken place, and any wrong feedback you might have gotten. If possible, you can as well take a screenshot, as this will be of help in fixing the problem.
- Go over your work before submitting: Check that you have imputed all the answers correctly and it appears just the way you want it. Evaluate your answers and proofread for spelling and grammar accuracy.
- Click Submit: Click to submit only once when you are done, unless you have difficulty, then you may need to try this one more time. If after trying, you still encounter the same issue, inform your examiner immediately, so that you can send your answers through another means.
After the Virtual exam: Review
- Evaluate your growth: How well did you think you performed? What questions left you perplexed? Did you have to pass over any question? Go back your notebooks and teaching materials, to look for the solutions to those questions that gave you a tough time.
- Check out your grade: Sometimes, your grade will be made available almost immediately. But if the virtual exam is in essay format, this may require a longer time for your examiner to grade you.
Scrutinize yourself on how you can perform better in the next exam: How well did your plans work? Did your intention of sitting for the virtual exam yield success? Take note of your findings and be aware of them while you take a virtual exam subsequently.