Taking exams isn’t always fun. Whether you are applying to college or graduating, or even if you’re already a seasoned professional and need to get a new certification or license, exams can be stressful. To make sure your experience is as smooth and positive as it can be, your best choice might be to use professional proctoring services.
What is a proctored exam?
A proctored exam is a general term that refers to any exam that is supervised by a neutral person, a proctor, who ensures the identity of the test-taker and the integrity of the test environment. In other words, a proctor is someone who monitors the exam to make sure that the test-taker doesn’t cheat or manipulate the exam in any way.
Proctors can also be responsible for explaining the rules and providing guidelines to the test-takers. They receive test materials from the exam provider, set up the test on the computer or print out forms if any, especially if it’s a paper-based assessment. Employees of proctored testing centres are knowledgeable and experienced in exam procedures and can answer all the test-takers’ questions, including what are the things they are allowed to carry inside the test room, whether breaks are permitted, what is expected from the test-taker.
External proctoring services are used to increase the credibility of the exam and to guarantee fair and accurate results to test-takers, exam providers, regulatory bodies and other concerned parties. For many high-stakes exams, having a professional proctor oversee the test-taker during the whole duration of the exam is a mandatory requirement.
What are the types of proctored exams?
Exams offered at proctored testing centres can be categorized in several ways. One approach could be to distinguish them based on the exam provider. For example, professional certification and designation exams that are required to prove a candidate’s expertise in a specific area are in most cases developed and administered by professional testing services providers, such as Prometric, Paragon, Kryterion, Yardstick and others.
These exam providers usually partner with proctored exam centres, like Ashton Testing Services, to offer testing services to the public. When candidates need to take tests related to their professional fields, they are usually required to register through their regulatory body or the test provider. The test provider checks if the candidate qualifies for an exam and allows them to book it at one of the accredited test centers.
However, in the case of exams administered by educational or regulatory bodies, the test-takers are expected to look for external proctoring services and arrange their exams independently. This option is especially popular with distant learners and students in remote locations. For example, if a person is studying at a university located in another city or even abroad, it’s more convenient for them to take a proctored exam in a test centre then to go to the school’s physical location.
In-person vs. online proctoring
With advancements in technology, it has become easier for test-takers to arrange their proctored exams. In fact, they have two options to choose from. Either they can book a test at a proctored exam centre, or they can arrange for online proctoring services using special software.
Online proctoring is flexible and convenient. The test-taker can stay in the comfort of their home, install the software and set a time for the exam. Although installing the invigilation program, verifying one’s identity and accessing exam materials are easy steps to follow, the whole process can still be tricky.
The test-taker needs to have a webcam and a microphone on their computer or laptop, make sure the operating system supports the required software and provide the online proctor with a complete view of their surroundings. If the connection fails during the exam, the candidate will need to reschedule it and start all over again.
Alternatively, a test-taker can book an exam at one of the proctored testing centres and rely on the expertise of professional proctors in ensuring a smooth and stress-free exam process. In this case, there is no need to worry about the equipment, security procedures and access to test materials.
It is proctors’ job to help test-takers organize their exams and go over any questions or concerns they might have before coming to the test centre. Proctors know the applicable rules and regulations thoroughly. They can handle the test logistics, allowing the test-taker to focus on the exam.
How to book a proctored exam?
If you are required to book external proctoring services by your college, university or examining body, you can contact the test centre of your choice directly and check the date and time availability you have in mind. If you are not sure whether you need to make your booking directly or through the examining body, you can still get in touch with the test centre administrator to clarify your doubts.
Ashton Testing Services proctors will be glad to provide you with all the necessary information regarding the check-in and security process. Based on the specific conditions set by your exam provider, you might be required/allowed to bring certain items with you, such as a calculator and a dictionary. The proctor will be able to provide you with these guidelines.
You will need to pay a flat rate of $45 for a three-hour exam session and $15 for every additional hour after that. Also, note that Ashton Testing Services only accepts credit cards for payment. If you require any special accommodation, make sure you contact the test centre two weeks in advance and let the proctors know what type of special assistance you will need.
On the day of the exam, make sure you arrive at least 15 minutes before the booked time slot and be ready to provide your valid government-issued ID for identity verification. Put all your belongings in the locker and follow the proctor’s guidelines carefully.