Tips to Prepare for *Online* Exams

Updated: Feb 15

Are you writing your exams online this term? Here are some things you may not have considered but that may help you prepare for them.

Find out what to expect ahead of time

Don't wait until the day of the exam to get all the information you need. You should know when and where the test will be available. Do you have to complete it synchronously or do can you access it between a window of time? You should also find out when the test is due and how much time you will have to complete it.


Another important question to ask is what is the format of the test. Will there be several different types of questions (e.g. multiple-choice, essay, short-answer, etc.) or will there be one predominant type? You should also ask how many questions will the test have. Having this information can help you study more effectively and may reduce some of the stress associated with this test since you have an idea of what to expect.

Prepare your device prior to the test

We all know that technology can fail, but we can try our best to minimize the chances of this happening. First, do not use a tablet or phone to complete your test unless you are instructed to do so. Some devices may not be compatible with the test-delivering software and may not display the test correctly.


Try to update your computer the night before your test if needed. You definitely do not want to get a restart message in the middle of your test! Make sure you also install any software that may be needed for your test.


During the test, try to use a hard-wired connection if available. If not, try to work in a room where you have the best internet connectivity possible. Lastly, make sure you do not have programs running in the background, as these may slow down your computer. Only have your test tab open.


Set up your test-taking area

Find a quiet are where you will not be interrupted. If you live with others, let them know you will be writing a test and ask them to please give you some privacy during that time. You want to aim for an organized and clutter-free area. If you have access to a desk or table, that will be idea. Whenever possible, try to write your test in the same room or area where you studied.

Write the test confidently!

Start with the section that you feel most comfortable with if your test format allows you to do so. This will give you a boost in confidence. If you do not know the answer to a question, do not panic. Take a deep breath and move on to another question.


It is important to keep track of time, just like with any other test. The difference is that your instructor or teaching assistant may not be keeping time for you. You may have to do this on your own. If the screen does not automatically display a clock or timer for you, make sure you set up one! Set up a time limit per question and make sure you leave some time at the end to review your answers.


If you encounter technical difficulties, make sure you contact your instructor immediately and send them a screenshot of your screen.

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