How to take tests online

Midterms are coming up fast, and if you haven’t been thinking about your upcoming exams,  you should be. Much like everything else this semester, your finals are going to be different. For starters, they’ll be done online. If you haven’t taken an online test before, there are some things you should know. 

Get the details

First, confirm the date, time and format of your exam with your professor. Any of these could have changed since the syllabus was created, but the format will likely be the biggest change. There are a few formats that are common for online test-taking: 

  • LockDown Browser (Respondus). If your test is in LockDown Browser, you will need to find a quiet and empty space with no background noise. These tests may require a webcam and will lock your browser so that you can’t search the internet or use other programs for help during the test. Ask your professor if there will be an in-test calculator or any available formulas in the browser before starting the test. 

  • Proctored exams (RPNow or Zoom). Proctored exams may allow you to use your book, a notecard or calculator, but ask your professor first to be sure. 

  • Quizzes (Canvas). Canvas quizzes are right in your Canvas class and may have time restrictions or attempt restrictions, so plan ahead to be prepared. 

Communicate with your professor

If you’re concerned about the format of your test for any reason, reach out to your professor. If your test will require a webcam to check for noise or people in the background and you have a small child who may be in the room, or you won’t be able to find a completely quiet space in your home, you could get flagged on the exam. Letting your professor know before your test (and reminding them afterwards) is your best bet for avoiding issues. 

Review, review, review

With online exams, things can go wrong. From the internet going out to a glitch in the system, it’s good to be prepared. That’s why it’s so important for you to review your exam before and after you submit it. Before you turn it in, go over all of your answers and make sure they’re correct. Then after you submit the exam, check it again. Make sure everything was submitted correctly and that there are no unexpected errors. 

If something does go wrong, tell your professor immediately

This goes for anything that happens in the test. Connection issues, a background noise (or person or pet), or an answer you’re sure is correct that was marked wrong. It’s possible for errors to pop up in the answer guide (like a required “.0” at the end of a number that’s unnecessary). Call that to your professor’s attention so they can correct the error. If your test or internet crashed, let them know ASAP. The most important part of reaching out to your professor is to do so immediately.

Last but not least, prepare mentally for your exam. While the format is different, it’s still just a test that asks you to apply what you’ve learned. Treat your finals as you always have: prepare, study, go to virtual tutoring sessions and reach out for help when you need it. Good luck on your finals, Sun Devils! You’ve got this.

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Sun Devils turn to ASU Adulting 101 to learn (some of) the things not taught in class. Not sure about how to do something? Need to connect with an expert? We got you.


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