How to Prepare for Online Exams

Updated: May 5

Are you writing online exams? Here are four tips to help you prepare.

Tip #1 - 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 will the test be available?

  • Do you have to complete it synchronously (live) during class or can you access it at any time within a given window?

  • When is the test due?

  • How much time do you have to complete the test?

  • How many questions will there be?

  • What platform will be used?

  • What is the test format?

Having this information can help you study more effectively and may reduce some of the stress associated with this test, as it gives you an idea of what to expect.

Tip #2 - 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.


Tip #3 - 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.

Tip #4 - 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. Make sure you mention your name/ID and the course code, and include detailed information of what occurred (including a screen capture if possible).

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