How to Prepare for At-Home Online Exams

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After over a year of distance learning, students are no strangers to online exams. Here are some tips on how to better prepare for taking online exams at home, so you can feel more confident in your online test-taking. 

Try these Online Exam Tips to maximize your testing experience.

1) Know the guidelines.

Since the guidelines and formatting of online exams is different from in-person exams, it’s important that you know what to expect before the exam date. 


This includes: 

  • The time limit
  • The material will the exam cover
  • The materials can you use (textbooks, class notes, etc.) 
  • The way to access the exam online
  • Software that you will need to download on your computer ahead of time

If any of these points are unclear, check in with your teacher before the exam.

2) Show up on time.

Make sure you know ahead of time if your exam has an exact start time or if you have a window. Some online exams will lock you out if you do not start on time- don’t let this be you!

3) Check that your computer is working & ready beforehand.

At least a day before the exam, check that your computer is fully updated and ready to go. This includes software installation and/or updates, internet connection, and power source. Don’t leave this to the last minute.

4) Study!

Just because an exam is openbook or opennote, that doesn’t mean it will be easier or that you don’t have to study for it. Actually, it means the opposite. You don’t want to waste time flipping through your textbook looking up answers, which is why you still need to study ahead of time and make sure you understand the class material. By making a reference note sheet to use during the exam, you can write down all the necessary information you will need. This helps you avoid the hassle of searching through your notes and textbook for each question.

5) Prep your space.

Do your best to find a quiet spot in your house where you will be able to focus. Check that your internet connection is secure, you have a computer charger nearby, and that you have space to lay out everything. Get all your materials ready, including textbooks, notes, scrap paper, pens/pencils, water, snacks, and anything else you may need. Try your best to minimize any outside distractions.

6) Save your work during the exam.

In case of computer or internet issues, you don’t want to have to worry about losing all your work. If there are short answer or essay questions, use Microsoft Word to write your answers and then copy & paste to the exam. With multiple choice questions, write down your answers on scrap paper as you go.

7) Don’t cheat.

It may seem easy, but teachers can tell when you are submitting work that is not your own. Teachers know how to spot cheating specifically for online exams. Getting caught cheating also often means having to take the exam all over again, so ultimately it’s a waste of time.

8) If technical issues occur, don’t panic.

If something does happen to your computer while in the middle of the exam, don’t worry. Take a screenshot or a photo of your computer, so you have proof of the issue, then contact your teacher to see how they want you to continue. In order to avoid possible tech issues, make sure you close all other windows and programs during the exam, except for the ones you need.

9) Keep an eye on the time.

It’s harder to keep track of time during a test when you’re not in a classroom setting. Since you don’t have other students turning in their completed tests or the teacher giving you time updates, you have to rely on tracking time yourself. Also, most online exams are timed and may kick you out if you do not finish in time. Take your time and don’t rush through it, but also make sure you will have enough time to complete each section. You can set alarms to keep you on track, if this helps.

10) Don’t log off too quickly when you’re finished!

Once you’re finished, go through the exam and check your work. Make sure you have completed each section to the best of your ability. When you’re ready to submit, do not close the browser page until your submission has been CONFIRMED. Logging off too quickly could mean losing all your work. After you are confident that your exam has been submitted, you can log off. Congratulations, you’re finished!

Need more personalized recommendations?

The above tips and recommendations are broad strokes on study habits. If you have further questions, feel free to contact us for a personal consultation. We look forward to helping you.

About MathTowne

MathTowne is a locally-based tutoring resource. We are here to support students through the key phases of their academic journey: middle school, the transition to high school, all four years of high school, and college preparationOur staff has years of experience in creating personalized lesson plans for all of our students.

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