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How to prevent cheating in online exam


Mit Kotecha


June 14, 2020
online exam

Teachers and education professionals are slowly switching from the conventional pen-and-paper test to a more environment-friendly and wholesome alternative – online exams. Online tests have become popular due to their innovative features like effortless test creation, immediate grading, and result analysis. To make these tests more efficient for student assessment, teachers can now prevent students from cheating in online exams by using the right online exam software. 

Teaching in itself is a stressful job for the teacher, conducting exams does not have to be one. Leave it to online exam software to do the major chunk of the deed for you and you are sorted. Apart from making your life easier, online exams will help identify a student’s shortcomings to focus teaching efforts. The biggest question for the teacher at this point is “how do I prevent cheating during an online exam?”

The answer to it lies in technology. If technology enables, it also disables. Here is a simple checklist that will help you prevent any cheating in online exams:

Shuffling the question paper – Jumble it!

The easiest way to prevent student-to-student cheating is to jumble the questions using online exam software. The mechanized online exam software allows teachers to jumble the sequence of questions in the exam. Teachers can create multiple tests quickly using this feature and also ensure that the order of questions is different in each set. It also allows teachers to shuffle the answer options for a particular question to prevent cheating in the MCQ-type exam. If the students attempt to copy the sequence of answers and pass it on to other students taking the same exam, answer options for two different sets of questions will not match. Randomizing the sequence of questions is the best way to prevent students from cheating on an online exam.

Scheduling the result of the test for later

While online exam software immediately publishes the result of the exam taken, there is an option to defer the result. To keep a check on the student’s activity after submitting the test, technology enables teachers with the option to schedule the result of the exam for sometime later. This means that students will be unable to access their results after they have submitted it, until the scheduled time. Therefore, students will be unable to copy the results and relay it to others. It is upon the teacher’s discretion to schedule the result of the exam.

Shutting off internet access

While putting an online test in order, shutting off the internet access for students is the most logical thing to do to prevent malpractices during exams. Internet services on the student’s computer system can be cut off throughout the exam. Consequently, no student will be able to access the internet to look for the answers to questions on the test. Once the student completes the exam, internet services can be restored on the computer to submit the answers for evaluation.

Allocate an authentic student ID

To make sure that no one apart from the registered student takes the exam, authenticating the ID of a student is a necessary step. High-level authentication in online exam software can be achieved with thorough verification to ensure there is no one impersonating a student. A student will be permitted to appear for the exam only when the details of the personal ID of the student are verified. Hence, there is a bleak chance of an impersonator appearing for the test on behalf of a student.

Bank-level security for question bank

The final questions mustn’t get leaked before the exam. When it comes to a conventional pen-and-paper test, the question paper is prepared at least one day before the exam. The chances of the question paper getting leaked from even a secured computer or being photocopied are huge.

Online exam software provides bank-level security to the question bank and prevents questions from being leaked before the exam. Bank-level security implies military-grade encryption for the data. This means that the question bank is stored in an encrypted state with many layers of protection; far from being leaked.

Remote proctoring the tests

Proctoring is keeping an eye on the students attempting the exam. Remote proctoring allows monitoring of students via webcam and mic. In addition, screen access allows the proctor to keep an eye on what the student is accessing on their computer screen while also making sure that the student is not using a mobile phone. The proctor can catch any malpractice immediately using screen monitoring.

Hosting the exam on a safe browser

An exam-safe browser is an added security feature wherein no other window can be opened on the browser being used. Students can open only the exam window. If the student makes an attempt to open another window/tab, it will be treated as unfair means. 

Online exam software exhibits almost fool-proof technology and helps teachers to conduct a fair exam.