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What is online proctoring?

Student sitting on sofa working on laptop

Firstly we’ll answer the question: what is proctoring? It basically means the same as invigilating. To watch people take an exam and make sure that they don’t cheat.

So how does that work online? With social distancing, many exams are going to be taken at home, online. If there isn’t someone physically there to watch you take the exam, how is it going to work?

Sitting an exam at home

If you are sitting an exam at home, you still need to be monitored to make sure you don’t have any outside help. Before you sit an exam on your own computer, you’ll need to download monitoring software that will be used to track you via your camera as you answer the questions.

It is worth checking with your professional body if they have any checks you need to perform.

Different types of proctoring

During online proctoring, software is used to allow you to sit the exam wherever you like. To keep the exam secure and 100% reliable, software is used to track you and monitor you through video, so the exam goes fraud-free.

Subsequent Proctoring

Images and logs are captured as you do the exam, and are recorded on video. Later on, a proctor (aka an invigilator) will be able to see if you engaged in any form of cheating.

The decision is based on the evidence from the captured images. Because everything is recorded, you can sit the exam at any time you feel like - just log in and begin an exam without prior scheduling, unless your qualification institute tells you otherwise.

Live Proctoring

This is more like a real exam setting. An online proctor actually watches you as you do the exam, via webcam. They can intervene if they notice anything unusual, just like in a real classroom setting. You would need to book the exam in advance to see if there's a proctor available to invigilate you.

Automated Proctoring

In automated proctored online exams, computer software is used to detect any instances of possible cheating or outside help. It can detect whenever different software is opened, or even if there's another person in the room. The remote proctor is alerted to any such events, and they are then in a position to review them.

Exam setup at home

You will need to make sure that where you are taking the exam is suitable and that the technology you have is reliable.

So with that in mind, you will need to have:

  • A quiet private place to take the exam, where you won’t be disturbed
  • A computer with a webcam that is reliable and clear
  • An internet connection that is strong and won’t go down during your exam. Check with your institute if they have minimum requirements, or an internet connection test, just to make sure it’s going to be okay for your exam.

Will my next exam be online?

Each individual institute will be reviewing how they are doing their exams in the near future. Some institutes have cancelled them for the foreseeable future, and some are going to move to online as soon as they can, with at least one proposed to start exams this month.

We will keep you as up to date as we can, but it’s best to check with your qualification provider for more information.