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As we all know that 2020 has caused a paradigm shift in education, so we’re witnessing a greater normalisation of online schooling and subsequently, online exams. For some of us, who might be forced to take on an online exam for the first time this year, this might cause greater anxiety on top of the pressure of doing well. But don’t worry, online exams are not necessarily harder or easier. They are just different. And we are here to assist you with adapting to the change.
One would think that the anxiety lessens since an online exam can typically be taken from home. However, there can be major pitfalls especially if a student is unprepared and not organized. The key to a successful online test is being organized as much as you can.
Check your computer
a) Nothing can lead to panic more than realizing that your computer does not work properly. Before the test or exam, ensure that you can switch it on and off.
b) Check whether the internet connectivity is stable, if not, move to an alternative location and ensure you move to where the internet is the strongest.
c) It is also advisable to open two browsers – one to take your exam and the other to search for information (if you’re allowed to do so). This is also to avoid mistakenly closing the browser with the online exam.
Find a spot clear of distractions
Clearing your distractions includes switching off the television, radio, social media, and all notifications. Thereafter, gather all tools that you will require for the exam to go smoothly so that you don’t scramble for items that might end up taking lessening your time. i.e. pens, notebooks, textbooks, etc. See our article on Working and Learning in Isolation for more tips about setting up a conducive environment clear of distractions.
Understand and read the exam guidelines thoroughly
Check the time and date of the exam. How long do you have to complete the exam? Or are you given a window of a certain period time to complete the exam? And even in cases where you can choose what time you take your exam, you usually can’t choose how much time you have to do it. More often than not, online exams are timed, which means you need to carve out an uninterrupted block of time for your exam.
This might seem obvious but some people might underestimate the importance of actually studying since it is an online exam. Even though online exams may be “open book,” you still need to make sure that you are familiar with the material, so you don’t waste time hunting for it. By having a good mastery of the material, you can organize what you think you will need to know in study notes and your mind so it’s more easily accessible when you’re answering exam questions. If you go into it with only your open book to guide you, the lack of preparation will show in your rushed responses. The open book should only be used as a reference otherwise most of the work should be in your brain.
If you happen to encounter any technical difficulties, take a screenshot and inform your instructor of your mistake. The worst thing you can do is panic. Your instructor is probably already aware that sometimes technical glitches are avoidable, the key thing here is to be as transparent as possible once this occurs.
Don’t forget to click “Submit”
Most online exams don’t count unless you click the “submit” button at the end. If you have a few minutes left to go over your exam, then I would suggest that you do so. But once you are happy with your responses, please make sure to navigate to the end of the page and press the “submit” button. The point is to make sure your work transmits before hastily moving away from the page.