How Do You Prepare For Online Exams?

In A-Level, GCSE, General by Think Student Editor1 Comment

While written exams are the standard across the UK, not everybody sits them. Sometimes, students will sit an online exam. The problem is that there’s far less information about online exams than written exams, which can make the online exam process daunting. So, what is the best way to prepare for an online exam?

The best way to prepare for online exams is to set up your revision. You can do this by creating a revision schedule, so you know what to study when. To best prepare for online exams, you need to remove distractions when studying. This can help with your motivation to study whilst also improving your work efficiency.

Everyone prepares for exams differently, so it’s important to find a way that works for you. To find out the best ways to prepare for your online exams, you should read on.

How should you prepare for online exams?

The main way to prepare for online exams is to create a study schedule. This can help you set targets for yourself and stay focused. Since preparation for online exams doesn’t have the same structure as written exams, a schedule can help you stay motivated to study. You should also try and remove distractions.

The best way to prepare is in a quiet space where you can work without noise – listening to music can help with this if you can’t find somewhere quiet. As well as this, you should keep your workspace clean to be more efficient with the way you work.

Since not everybody has access to a private workspace, public libraries and cafés can also be nice environments. It’s also important to stay hydrated so that you don’t overwork yourself.

Everybody knows that staying focused is a lot easier to say than do. For tips on how to keep your concentration while studying, check out this Think Student article.

How should you revise for online exams?

Revision for online exams is different to paper exams – you may not have access to a textbook or other course material unlike students who sit written exams. Most revision tips online also cater to written exams and not online exams: so how do you revise properly for an online exam?

The first thing to do is to go back over each module and work on the “key topics” of each section. It can also be helpful to look over your past assignments and feedback, to remind yourself of your strengths and weaknesses. You can then put these into a revision timetable.

Different methods of revision work for some people and not for others. However, it’s beneficial for all students to go back over your previous work repeatedly, so that you retain a wide range of information. If you’re struggling with revision, this Think Student article has tips on how to revise effectively.

How are online exams formatted?

There is a set website where the exam will take place; your examiner will let you know the name of the website or send you a link. The examiners will upload the questions for you to answer. Your examiner may also tell you how many questions there are in total.

You are in full control of your exam environment. This feature of online exams is they are sometimes preferred by students.

While you are in control, it is generally advised that you dress smartly, sit in an appropriate space such as a desk or table, and eat/drink well beforehand. For more on this, check out this guide from the University of Melbourne.

How much time do you have for an online exam?

The amount of time you have for each exam differs between schools and universities, and even individual exams. Your examiner or assessment website will always tell you how much time you have for the exam. However, they might not advise you how much time to spend on each question.

The usual exam window is anywhere from standard exam time (2-3 hours) or up to 24 hours. For more information about how long you have to do an online exam, check out this guide by the University of York.

Online exams usually have cheat detection, and it is strongly advised that you try to complete the exam properly regardless. You will have a reasonable amount of time to complete the exam, so if you feel stuck, collect yourself and take your time. For more information about cheat detection, check out this article from Master Teaching Online.

Why would you have online exams?

Online exams can be held for a variety of reasons. Especially since the COVID-19 pandemic, online exams have become a lot more popular with students and examiners. GCSEs and A-Levels are now available online and some university students are able to sit online exams.

The main reason why you may have online exams is convenience. Online exams are a lot easier for examiners to set, easier for you to sit, and more flexible than paper exams. You will be told in advance whether the exam you sit will be on paper or online. There are advantages and disadvantages to both, so keep reading to find out more.

As online exams are a less traditional form of exams, it can be unclear whether universities will accept online exams, particularly A-Levels. If you want to know whether universities accept online A-Levels, check out this Think Student article.

What are the advantages of online exams?

One of the biggest advantages of online exams is that they work in students’ favour. If you have trouble reading or writing, or are worried your handwriting is illegible, online exams are a great alternative.

Other advantages include efficiency and less temptation to cheat. Online exams can detect cheating, which makes your marks far more reliable than written exams. Similarly, online exams are often quicker, which saves you and your examiner time. For more advantages, check out this article by Test Reach.

What are the disadvantages of online exams?

The biggest disadvantage of online exams is, unsurprisingly, technology. While online exams might seem more efficient than paper exams, internet connection and battery power can be unreliable.

Other disadvantages include exam limitations and higher stress. Exams such as speeches or presentations require in-person assessment, which limits the types of exams you can sit online. It was also reported that 32% of students were more stressed with online exams. For more on this, look at this article by Science Direct.

Are online exams easier than normal exams?

Online exams aren’t necessarily “easier” than written exams. However, for many students, they feel easier. This is because there is a longer exam window, and they are more accessible. Online exams cater to the abilities of any student, which is why online exams appear easier or more comfortable to sit.

Because of the longer exam window, sometimes your examiner may make questions harder than they would be in a written exam. This is why online exams aren’t “easier” than written exams – examiners will try and make them as balanced as possible so that nobody has an advantage.

Should you sit an online exam instead of a written exam?

There’s no benefit to doing one type of exam over another. In fact, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) found that students who sat online exams were not at a disadvantage to students to sat paper exams. Check out this article by the NIH, to learn more.

If you have a choice on the format of your exam, you should choose whichever one you’re most comfortable sitting.

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