How are online exams taken in different countries?

How are online exams taken in different countries?

| Self-development

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the best educational institutions around the world started to actively conduct distance exams. For example, now you can take the GMAT test remotely, while previously it could be done only in person at testing centers.

Many business schools require GMAT scores for admission to MBA programs. All you need to do to take the test is to register on the official website and click "Take the exam." During the test, a proctor monitors the applicants' video feed in real-time to prevent them from cheating. It is still not clear if it remains possible to take this test online when the epidemic is over, but for now, the GMAT exam is available in most countries with the exception of mainland China, Iran, Cuba, Sudan, Slovenia, and North Korea.

Every year, exams, especially Advanced Placement (AP) testing, generated a significant income to those who were in charge of their organization. According to a Total Registration survey, in 2017 the College Board, an organization that develops and administers tests and education programs, made $1.1 billion in AP testing. Now they created an online version of the test, which the candidates take remotely due to the epidemic and has only a section with open-ended questions. The section with multiple-choice answers, which previously counted for 50% of the exam, was excluded.

Many people don't trust online testing, but in the present circumstances with the spread of coronavirus, such tests are the most optimal solution. The main concern of teachers is that students have more opportunities to cheat. Many people believe it's not enough to watch students through their webcams or run written works through a plagiarism checker. However, you need to understand that no technology can prevent cheating a hundred percent, even during a traditional in-class exam. You can always outsmart the teacher whether online or being face to face in the same room.

To reduce the probability of cheating and increase the overall effectiveness of online testing, they use various methods in different countries and in different learning institutions. Here are some of the most interesting examples:

  1. Northwestern University in Illinois (USA). For taking exams online during the epidemic, they use Canvas - a learning management system, popular in many American universities. The system offers three main exam formats: essays, tests, and online exams. When the exam is in the process, the system automatically blocks Internet search engines on the student's computer. Also, teachers use project assignments to certify students, like they do in Russia.
  2. The University of New England, UNE (Australia). Online exams are not new to this university - they have been practicing here for the past two years. This year they plan to monitor the students through webcams and use screen-sharing technology during the testing. The university considers safe alternatives on site for those students who, for some reason, are not able to take exams remotely (for example, due to their living conditions).
  3. National Institute of Industrial Engineering, NITIE (India). Senior students take exams on a specially designed digital platform. Many other educational institutions in India are also developing their platforms, including the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU). The lack of good quality Internet access for many students is still a problem for Indian universities.
  4. Imperial College London (UK). Recently, college already conducted exams online for graduate students. Medical students enrolled in a research program diagnosed the patient's condition online based on his analyses, including blood tests. Each question had to be answered in 72 seconds. During this time, the student had to analyze the results of the diagnosis and form an opinion on the patient's health status. Each case is individual, so finding an answer on the Internet was impossible. The students answered the questions in a different order, which wouldn't let them copy the answers of their fellow students.
  5. Oxford and Cambridge Universities (Great Britain). Due to the epidemic, summer exams will also be taken online. Students who can't take the tests remotely will do that when the university resumes its traditional classes. Many students oppose online testing and even encourage to boycott them and the administration to reconsider the methods of assessment. However, if students want to work as soon as possible, they have no choice but to accept the new reality and take the tests from home.
  6. Brussels Free University and Liège University (Belgium). The same with these universities - they will hold online exams at the same time they planned for traditional testing.
  7. University of Vienna (Austria). They included the digital exam in the course catalog, where teachers will be able to place links to exam materials, information about its duration, what they allow to use, as well as minimum requirements for passing and assessment criteria.

Many other countries, such as Norway and New Zealand also plan to use online tools for the final certification of their students.

How to pass an online exam?

How to pass an online exam

Many students are nervous before taking distance exams, after all, the conditions are unusual for them and the environment is very different. However, preparing for such exams is very similar to preparing for traditional exams. To successfully pass an online exam, follow several recommendations:

  1. Check the time of the exam with your teacher. Due to the epidemic, there could be some confusion in the schedule, so it's a good idea to confirm the date and exact hours of the event one more time to avoid confusion.
  2. Find out the format of the exam. It can be in oral or written form, a test, a project presentation, or an essay. You can't be ready for an exam without knowing its format. Clarify all details with your teacher. If the exam is in the form of a quiz, ask if you will be able to go back to the previous question in case you want to change the answer.
  3. Consider timing. Calculate how much time you can afford to spend on each question or task and within the given timeframe.
  4. Organize your reference materials. If you do not know where to start your preparation, then start by organizing the materials you will need in the process: copies of online lectures, class and homework assignments, articles, files. After that, it will be much easier for you to plan your exam preparation and decide in what order to review the material. Keep in mind that you should dedicate more time to the topics you don't understand and those that you already know or can easily remember, leave for last. Also, memorization is a bad strategy - the goal of any learning is to acquire the material to put into practice in the future, rather than get a grade and forget about it in a week. Try to understand each topic, its meaning instead of just memorizing some phrases.
  5. Take regular, short breaks during your preparation. Your brain needs a break to process the received information and to allocate free space for the next "portion".
  6. Test yourself. Use the tests from the textbook, retell the material to your family, explain it to other students, or practice answering the exam questions in front of the mirror. Using what you learned in practice, or at least speaking the material aloud, improves the memorization process.
  7. Do not forget to click the "Submit" button when you complete the examination forms and answer the questions. You would think it is the easiest part of the test, but with the new exam format, there is a chance you can forget about this little detail, especially if you are nervous. It is important to stay concentrated and calm, to observe all the formalities so that your efforts wouldn't go in vain, and your answers reach your teacher.

Brace yourself! This year, the majority of universities will implement online testing. For senior students, this is pretty much the only way to finish their studies on time, if they don't want to let the epidemic ruin their plans for the nearest future. Prepare for the certification just as meticulously as you would for a traditional exam. And educational institutions will make sure that everything goes smoothly - their monitoring systems will minimize the possibility of cheating on the test and create the environment close to a traditional classroom.

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