10 ways to prevent cheating on online exams:

  1. Detecting cell phone use
  2. Neutralizing question banks
  3. Preventing the use of other browsers and sites
  4. Verifying student identity
  5. Using a webcam to scan the room for other people and study resources
  6. Providing understandable and explicit rules for the exam
  7. Giving test takers clear instructions
  8. Emphasizing academic integrity and the honor code
  9. Monitoring exams with AI and live remote proctors
  10. Setting time limits

As more and more exams are being taken online, instructors need to protect academic integrity and learn how to prevent cheating.

This blog will show you:

  • How to stop cheating using proctoring software
  • Other ways ways instructors can prevent cheating before the exam starts 
  • Why do students cheat? 

Ways to prevent cheating on online exams

How to stop cheating by using online proctoring software

Detect cell phone use and other devices

Students have access to more and more devices so it’s important to detect if students try to use their cell phone to look up test answers during the exam. Our proctoring software detects cell phones and other devices that access our test bank content during an online exam. This function helps deter students from using their phones during online exams.

Combine AI proctoring software and human proctors

Once the proctored exam begins, no human will disturb the student unless our AI software detects potential misconduct. At that point, the system automatically notifies one of our certified live proctors, who can then intervene by communicating with the student via chatbox and get them back on the honest track.

Detect voices and sounds

Honorlock’s voice detection software listens for specific keywords or phrases, such as “Hey Siri” or “OK Google,” to identify students who may be attempting to gain an unfair advantage. It then alerts a live remote proctor in real-time to pop into the online exam session via chat-box to intervene and redirect the student.

Use video proctoring

Honorlock uses video proctoring through the webcam to verify student ID, scan the testing room, and monitor the student during the exam.

Protect your exam questions and answers and neutralize online question banks

Test banks and homework-help sites make it easy to find and share your test questions, and you may be surprised by how much of your content is available on the internet. Honorlock’s proctoring software searches for leaked content and requests the removal of the material by filing DMCA copyright takedown notices. The objective is to remove your test questions from the internet before the test takes place. 

Use a browser lock as an initial defense

Honorlock uses browser lockdown software as an initial way prevent cheating. The browser lock is mainly used to restrict access to other sites and disable shortcuts and keyboard functions.

24/7/365 support

It’s proven that students are more likely to cheat when they’re tired. Honorlock’s on-demand proctoring services allows students to schedule and take exams when they’re ready and on their schedule – 24/7/365—even if it’s at 2 am over Thanksgiving break. If they feel most alert and prepared at 2:00 a.m., 2:00 a.m. is when they can take the test, confident that any questions they have about the process can be answered.

How to prevent cheating on online exams

All instructors were students at one time. They can sympathize with students who face temptation, even if they do not sympathize with dishonest actions. Below are four ways to prevent cheating on online exams.

Be explicit about rules for your online exams

Syllabi have gotten longer over the past couple of decades, as instructors try to cover every possible angle to ensure clarity only to discover that some students will still claim ignorance of class policies. That’s why it is crucial to provide explicit test rules and be clear in your expectations from the beginning of the term, with a reminder here and there as the weeks go by.

Provide clear test instructions

Explain what resources are permissible for students to access during their online proctored exam and which ones are not.

  • Are notes acceptable but not phones?
  • What is the scope of the content students will be expected to know?
  • How long will the exam last once they start?
  • Can they use any specific websites that the instructor allows?

Be sure to include these instructions when you set up your proctored exams so Honorlock proctors will know what is allowed and what is not.

Note the honor code

Your institution may have its own honor code. If there is no statement supporting academic honesty, you can require your students to provide their own pledge with each assignment. Studies show that the act of writing “I pledge that this is my own work,” or something similar, actually helps reduce cheating on exams.

Remind students of the disciplinary procedure

In many schools, once you have referred a student’s work to the dean’s office or disciplinary committee, the case is out of your hands. Ensure that students know what the consequences of academic dishonesty will be and that the responsibility lies with them to avoid those consequences.

Why do students cheat on exams?

We believe that the majority of students approach exams with integrity and honesty. We support students by providing a fair and equitable testing environment.

At the same time, a small percentage of students may justify the opportunity to use “unauthorized sources” during an online exam. They may rationalize cheating because they think other students are doing it, they don’t believe they’ll get caught, and even normalization by means of social media. 

Common reasons students cheat:


Students may need a certain GPA to maintain a scholarship or to avoid academic probation. They may fear disappointing their parents. They may have to work full-time and not be able to focus on doing the work that they would otherwise have time to do. 


Students are conditioned from a young age to believe that we live in a competitive society. Think of how often we hear, “Winning isn’t everything; it’s the only thing.” We prefer, “it’s not whether you win or lose, it’s how you play the game,” but we recognize that the desire to outperform others can motivate those who believe they can’t “win” fairly to employ questionable tactics.

Lack of Preparation

For any number of the reasons described above that put pressure on students, simply not having done the work during the course of the semester (whether because they were doing paid work, focusing on extracurriculars, dealing with family trauma, or suffering from anxiety or depression) can tempt students to cheat on tests. Students also cheat more often when they are tired.


Surveys tell us that students are more apt to cheat on online proctored exams than those monitored in a classroom. Some treat it like that proverbial moment when the teacher has to step out of the classroom during a traditional test, and suddenly, it’s a free-for-all. Many who would otherwise be honest find cheating harder to resist when it seems easy to do without getting caught.

Honorlock online proctoring services prevent cheating on online exams

Our approach to online proctoring benefits the institution and the learner

Students feel more pride in themselves when they earn their grades and believe their peers are doing the same. Faculty and schools protect their good names when they are known for robustly upholding academic integrity.

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