With the end of the spring term approaching, many Dartmouth students are dealing with the new & ominous feat of having to take their first-ever online final examination(s). Taking a test online can differ greatly from taking one in a traditional classroom setting.
A lot of students don't know what to expect, which translates to them not knowing how to properly prepare for these online exams. Below are a few helpful tips and tricks that students can use to maximize their chance of success while jumping over this final hurdle of the remote term.
Tip #1: Prepare Your Machine
An easy thing to overlook, be sure that your computer is as ready as possible for finals week. Download any necessary software and ensure that it is running quickly and efficiently before finals week. Make sure your wifi connection is solid and that you have a reliable computer charger. You need to be able to depend on your machine to get through your exam; you want to spend your brainpower on your work, not on a computer malfunction.
Tip #2: Prepare for the Format
Don’t underestimate your online exams just because they are technically “open-book”. Think about how the exam will function in real-time and prepare for it. Will your exam be timed? If the test isn't at a specific time, then create a deadline for yourself by which you'll need to have it completed.
Is it short answer, multiple-choice, essay-based, or even a combination of the three? Usually, open-book examinations encompass a large amount of material, so constantly looking back into your notes could be counterproductive. In addition, make sure to “set up an environment where you won't be interrupted. You'll want to take the test somewhere quiet where you can concentrate. Don't forget to turn your phone on silent as well to avoid any distractions” (ECPI Blog).
Tip #3: Prepare Your Mind and Body
This one may sound self-explanatory, but this remote term may have caused a lot of disruptions to our lives schedule-wise. Now is the time to establish some order again before finals week draws nearer. Make sure to get 7-8 hours of sleep before all exams.
Also, try to wake up at least an hour and a half before each exam. This will allow you to eat a meal and to have a short established routine to wake you up and get your mind right. That could be taking a hot shower, doing some light stretches and/or breathing exercises, doing some skincare, etc. There’s nothing worse than waking up five minutes before you have to take an exam and then expecting yourself to do your best. Give yourself the best chance possible to succeed!
Tip #4: Save Your Answers & Submit Your Exam On-time
Save your answers multiple times throughout the exam. You may even want to type them up in a word document or in a notes app before copying and pasting them to the exam. Always plan for the worst; if the webpage crashes, you don't want to lose all of your hard work and risk getting a poor grade.
Most online exams aren’t done until you click the “Submit” button at the end. If you finish ahead of time, do a once-over, and ensure that everything is completed to your satisfaction. Make sure that your submission is confirmed once you submit the exam and before you exit your browser. If you have any problems submitting the test, let your instructor know immediately and send your intended answers in an attached document so that they know that you finished on time.
- The Cengage Blog, Tips for Taking Online Exams
- ECPI Blog, How Online Exams Work: How to Be Successful in Online Test Taking
- ECPI Blog, Taking Online Tests: Some Tips to Get you Started
- The Best Schools, Online Exam Tips You'll Be Thankful For