Online Proctoring: What to Know About Remote Invigilation for Exams

Did you know, since April 2020, as many as 54% of institutions used online proctoring services, while 23% are planning to use them?

Current social distancing rules due to coronavirus have stopped many exams running in schools, colleges, and test centers across the world.

This is where online proctoring comes into its own—it’s a rapidly growing solution to this ever-present issue. In light of that, we’re going to detail everything you need to know about it here in this post.

Let’s dive in!

Online Proctoring: What is it? 

Online proctoring is otherwise known as remote invigilation. Here candidates take their test online and every effort’s made to recreate the exam hall experience.

A proctor invigilates exams. They virtually monitor the movements of up to six students per session. Don’t worry, the proctor isn’t visible throughout the test; their identity is hidden to ensure candidates aren’t distracted. 

Online examinations give candidates locational freedom when taking their tests. By this, we mean students can be supervised while undergoing an official exam, from anywhere around the globe! Needless to say, this is a very flexible and convenient solution for the candidate.

The Advantages of Remote Invigilation

Let’s examine the main perks of remote invigilation:

  • Online proctoring eliminates the massive administrative burden paper-based exams create
  • There’s zero commuting for candidates 
  • Time is used efficiently, i.e., less time is wasted preparing, clearing, and processing exams. This helps streamline the entire examination process from start to finish
  • Exam bodies can now host exams for those other than national educational institutions. As such, they now have the opportunity to broaden their customer base and run exams internationally. 
  • Online invigilation tends to involve exams being recorded; if cheating is suspected, the examining body can review the video. This gives candidates greater confidence that they’re treated fairly.

Now that we’ve reviewed the benefits let’s explore the tech requirements for sitting a digital test.

The Technological Requirements

To sit an online exam you’ll need:

  • A working webcam
  • A working microphone and speakers. 
  • A stable internet connection (516kbps or higher). 
  • A MAC OS or Windows operating system. 
  • Your computer or laptop needs to have at least an Intel Core i3 processor.  
  • 4GB RAM. 

If you have all the above, you should be good to go!

Before the Test

Before the day of the exam, you’ll be given the date, time, and instructions on how to attend. Read through this in advance to ensure you’re fully prepared to start the test on time.

We also suggest double-checking that you have the correct equipment listed above to complete the test, and that it actually works! 

Test Day Itself

On the day of your exam, this is what you should expect:

  • An ID check 
  • A scan of your environment for anything that’s not allowed in the exam.
  • Your browser gets locked to prevent internet searches. 
  • Supervision – you’re watched throughout the exam. 
  • Once it’s finished, any issues that occurred during the exam are raised with the necessary body. 

During check-in, you’ll have access to a webchat. Here you can communicate to your proctor any technical problems you may face! It’s user friendly and very responsive, so don’t worry, you’ll get all the support you need to guide you through the process. 

Online Test Integrity 

You may be asking yourself, is it easier to cheat with online proctoring? Are test centers better? You’ll be glad to hear most organizations do everything within their power to recreate strict exam hall conditions, like this online invigilation service.

Firstly, online proctoring verifies the identity of each candidate, preventing anyone from sitting an exam on behalf of someone else. Plus, comprehensive checks are taken to ensure anything banned from the exam isn’t present- phones, notes, etc. 

In test centers, proctors are generally invigilating 25 candidates in a room, while this ratio is much lower during online exams (typically four to six candidates are observed at a time). This makes it easier to detect any suspicious behavior. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Before we wrap up this blog post, we’re going to answer a couple of frequently asked questions regarding online proctoring:

What Happens if I’m Late? 

All candidates have to arrive during the check-in window. If you miss it, you cannot log in and enter the exam. Leave plenty of time to set up on the day to ensure you meet the deadline. 

How Do Online Exams Support Those With Additional Needs?

Do you usually have extra time? Or do you need some form of adjustment when sitting an exam? That isn’t an issue with online proctoring; you can still experience these same exam conditions.

Candidates can apply for reasonable adjustments, including:

  • Colored backgrounds
  • Increased font size
  • Additional time
  • Rest breaks

If you need extra support or changes for your exam, ensure these arrangements have been discussed and approved before exam day to any unnecessary stress! 

Can I Go to the Bathroom During an Exam?

There isn’t a clear cut answer, because it depends on your exam body. It’s common for exam bodies to say no to toilet breaks once the exam starts. Just in case this happens in your exam, it’s wise to go beforehand. 

But, some exam bodies allow five-minute breaks to go to the toilet. Others design the paper into sections, allowing candidates to have a bathroom break once a section is finished. 

Are You Thinking About Taking an Online Test?

All in all, online proctoring allows candidates to take an exam from the comfort of their own home, rather than traveling to an unfamiliar test center. 

To recap, remote invigilation requires:

  • The same ID and environmental checks as a traditional test center. 
  • Relies on a list of technical requirements to help re-create standard exam conditions. 
  • It’s a time-efficient way to conduct exams.
  • Makes a vast range of exams readily available across the world. 

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