Well before the coronavirus hit, hundreds of colleges and universities were administering exams with the help of online proctoring systems. Since March 2020, thousands more have been making the transition to web proctoring, even for their on-campus students. As a result, many students are reasonably accustomed to taking online proctored exams,  but if you’ve never taken one, or if you still have questions, please read on.

A while back, we shared four keys to exam success from two of our helpful remote proctors, whose team, along with Support, is available 24/7/365. We’d like to expand on that advice with best practices for online exams and provide answers to questions that will help you during your next online test.

How do I get ready to take an online proctored exam?

To help you prepare for your online proctored exam, keep the following 5 things in mind: 

#1 You will want to have done your studying for the exam itself! The exam will be structured by your instructor so you can best demonstrate your ability to apply and synthesize what you have been learning in the class.

#2 Make sure that your computer and webcam are working properly, and do our Simple Single-Click System Check to ensure you have the proper browser and meet minimum OS requirements [click here for our system check then scroll down to “Simple Single-Click System Check”]. Also, do your best to make sure that the room where you are taking the test is empty of other people and as free of clutter as possible.

#3 Log into your school’s Learning Management System and install the lightweight Honorlock extension on your Google Chrome browser, or Click Here to install. It takes just a few moments to install, is active only within your LMS environment, and takes just a few seconds to delete, if you so choose, following your exam.

#4 While Honorlock does not require a photo ID, many academic institutions do require a photo ID.

If so, you’ll likely need to have an ID accessible (e.g. your school ID, driver’s license or passport) 

Federal law requires that schools guarantee that you and the person registered in the course (and therefore taking the exam) are one and the same. When it comes to ID verification, Honorlock’s online proctoring system provides the easiest such experience that you’ll find. 

#5 If your instructor requires it, you will perform a 360-degree camera sweep of your testing area so that our remote proctors can check that you have no materials nearby that the instructor has prohibited (thus the recommendation above to take the exam in an uncluttered environment).

Do I have to make an appointment to take my online proctored exam?

You do not have to make an appointment to take your online proctored exam with Honorlock. We appreciate how hard it can be to schedule exams around your busy schedule. Honorlock was built by students to better serve students, and all of our online proctoring services are meant to be as convenient for you as possible. 

You don’t have to pick a time in advance and won’t have any fees to pay should you change your plans—even at the last minute. You get to take your proctored online exam on-demand, when you are best prepared to take it, any time day or night, so long as you meet your instructor’s deadlines.

What is going to happen during the proctored online exam?

Once your identity is verified and your environment is approved, you can focus on demonstrating the results of all that hard work you have been doing when studying. That’s basically it. 

96% of students taking their proctored online exam with Honorlock will experience no other intervention from our remote proctors. Our proctors will interrupt you via chat only if our AI monitoring software flags a possible instance of academic dishonesty. But if you are one of the few that interacts with our remote proctors, don’t panic. The proctors are there to help, not penalize. They will inquire about the situation and make suggestions to prevent an additional “pop-in” intervention.

What actions could generate a flag or a live proctor to pop into your online exam session?

There are many misconceptions about what causes a flag or a live proctor to pop into your online exam session.  Natural head movements while thinking about an exam question, your dog barking at your neighbors, or your cat jumping on your desk will not automatically trigger a flag. Our AI has been trained to ignore those things. Here are lists of things that will typically be flagged – listed by high, medium and low-risk incidents. 

Potential high-risk situations that our AI will recognize and flag for our human proctors so that they can pop in to find out what is actually going on include:

  • If you move completely out of the view of your webcam
  • If something obstructs your webcam
  • Use of an unauthorized search engine
  • Use of a secondary device, such as a smartphone or tablet
  • The appearance or sound of the voice of someone else in the room with you
  • Use of voice assistance software (Siri, Alexa, Bixby, etc.)
  • Violation of your instructor’s guidelines

Medium-risk situations that may trigger a Live Pop-In from a remote proctor include:

  • A less than appropriate workspace (i.e. not at a desk or table—if you prefer a couch or a chair for comfort or health reasons, that’s fine, but the proctor may check) 
  • Headphones or earphones
  • If you set up your webcam or move so that you are partially out of view
  • A secondary device in view (it’s best to keep your other devices in a different room)
  • An incomplete room scan (not 360 degrees, desk not shown, or materials not shown)

Low-risk situations that are less likely to be a problem but may generate a flag include:

  • Background noise
  • iMessage notifications on a Mac
  • Insufficient lighting
  • Ongoing conversation unrelated to exam content

Know that Honorlock online proctoring uses a combination of AI technology and human proctors because we understand that things do happen. If you accidentally look off into the distance or your roommate walks into the room unannounced, our live remote proctor may pop in to assess the situation, make sure there isn’t an academic violation, and help you get back on track with your online exam. Your instructor will also be able to review the recording of your online proctored exam to review any flagged incidents. Instructors make the final assessment as to whether an incident is a violation that requires further action.

We hope you find the lists above to be helpful, as we exist to help you succeed. You, your peers, your university, and society as a whole all benefit from a fair system of academic assessment, and we at Honorlock are proud to provide the least intrusive and most convenient online exam proctoring experience. 

Still curious about how it all works? Connect with a Support agent through Live Chat.

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