Test Taking for Online College Students: How Exams Work in the Virtual Classroom
Learn how tests are administered in an online environment, get advice for taking and passing different types of online exams, and hear from an expert with insider information.
Kathleen Curtis is an American writer currently living in Louisville, Kentucky. She has developed content around education for more than a decade for both domestic and international clients.
Elizabeth Minei is an Associate Professor at Baruch College in New York City. She has taught online for four years and received training as a Collaborative Online International Learning (COIL) Fellow and a Hybrid and Online Educational Instruction Fellow. In addition to teaching courses, Dr. Minei is the host of a podcast called "Will This be on the Test?" which specializes in tips and tactics to get ahead in online education.
Online learning has become a major part of our lives. Without the option to transition to the digital classroom during the pandemic, millions of students around the world would have been left without an education. While it’s easy to see how beneficial online school has been, many of us still have questions about the logistics of it all. One of the biggest questions surrounds how test-taking works in this new virtual landscape.
We’re used to teachers, professors, and test proctors monitoring students while they take exams. But with the shift to online, who is going to ensure that students don’t cheat or exceed time limits? Luckily, a lot of creative problem-solving has gone into improving how online learning works. Taking tests as an online student can feel essentially seamless and the quality doesn’t have to suffer just because it’s not in person. Learn how test-taking works online, find out how to prepare for an online exam, and get expert advice for making it work in the online classroom.
Test Types: Exams You May Encounter Online
Colleges have gotten creative when it comes to testing their online students. The type of test that will work best for a given course will depend on the subject, the objective of the exam, and the importance of the exam. Take a look at the most common types of exams below and get tips for prepping for each type.
10 Top Tips for Online Test-Taking
Taking a test as an online student can look vastly different from taking one in person. Try the tips below to feel comfortable, confident, and prepared when testing day arrives.
Expert Advice for Taking Tests Online
Elizabeth Minei is an Associate Professor at Baruch College in New York City. She has taught online for four years and received training as a Collaborative Online International Learning (COIL) Fellow and a Hybrid and Online Educational Instruction Fellow. In addition to teaching courses, Dr. Minei is the host of a podcast called “Will This be on the Test?” which specializes in tips and tactics to get ahead in online education.
Online Test-Taking Resources
The University of Tulsa provides this comprehensive list for distance learners.
If your school allows for open-note exams, Evernote offers a great option to organize and manage those notes in a way that works for your online testing style.
This Vanderbilt University resource supports professors trying to make their online tests both challenging and fair.
This free resource provides tons of helpful tools that can help you with organization, goal-setting, time management, notetaking, and online test preparation.
This customizable productivity timer can help familiarize you with various timeframes and get comfortable taking an exam under pressure.
Use these ideas to help you feel knowledgeable and prepared for any type of online exam.
This free online tool can help you make flashcards and other online study materials.
The University of West Georgia put together this YouTube video with ideas for getting prepared for online exams.
Times Higher Education provides this student essay about what it’s like to take tests as a distance learner.