October 29, 2019
Colleges, universities, regulatory bodies and other examining bodies often contact testing services providers to administer exams for them. These testing services providers then work with proctored exam centres, like Ashton Testing Services, to deliver the exam. A proctored exam is one where proctors who are experienced in the administration of exams, oversee the whole process to ensure test-takers are correctly registered, understand the requirements and are not cheating.
A proctor can answer your questions about the format of the exam or the tools used while taking the exam.
There are two types of proctored exams: in-person and online. Each has its own benefits and challenges.
- In-person proctored exams are when test-takers go to the appointed proctored exam centre to complete their exam. The test may be administered via a computer or on paper.
- Online proctored exams need candidates to install a proctoring software that monitors their activity while the test is underway. The recorded data is then transferred to the proctoring service for review. The test-taker and their environment must be fully visible to the proctor through the video software at all times. Technology is key here as the webcam must not fail, and there must not be any interruptions to the video feed, or the test-taker will have to reschedule the exam and start over.
With both types of proctored exams, individuals must pre-register, verify their identity, follow exam protocols and complete the test using the tools provided. Thus if the exam format states no outside information or tools can be used, the test-taker cannot bring additional tools (books, electronics, notes) into the proctored exam centre and cannot reach for additional tools during an online exam.
The environment of the individual must be visible at all times in an online proctored exam. It allows the proctor to see the test-takers hands and face as well as what is around them to ensure there is no possibility of cheating during the exam.
The differences between the two types of proctored exams are diverse, and test-takers may have a preference for one over another. With in-person proctored exams, there is no need to worry about having a spotty wi-fi connection or the software glitching, or the web camera malfunctioning. The proctor takes the candidates through all the steps and procedures.
On the downside, some may find it cumbersome - depending on the distance - to travel to the centre. Some test takers may not prefer an unfamiliar set up of a test center, or it could be something trivial like not finding the chairs comfortable.
With online exams, the test-taker has the comfort of sitting in the space they are familiar with and using their own computer or device. Those who suffer from exam anxiety, comfort and familiarity of an online exam is helpful. And of course, there’s no hassle of travelling to the centre.
An online proctored exam, when combined with an online course, makes it possible for those in remote locations to earn the same designations or exam credits as those studying in cities. This levels the education playing-field when it comes to geography because there are only a limited number of exam centres examination bodies work with.
However, although online proctoring may be convenient, it is not as widely accepted by examining organizations. Many of them advise candidates to take their test at an approved testing centre.
In some cases, individuals have a choice between online and test centre exams, and it’s good that learners have that choice. But in most cases, only the in-person testing works, because many high-stakes exams don’t lend themselves to online tests. Moreover, some learners also deem online proctoring as intrusive as someone watches them all the time while they take the test.
For a straightforward, secure, widely-accepted exam experience, the in-person method is the best.
Generally, the registration process will be similar whether the exam is taken online or in-person. The exam centre will allow for online registration (automated) or by phone, email, etc.
If you need to book external proctoring services, you can contact the test centre of your choice directly and check the availability of date and time.