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Online Exams: 4 Worthwhile Tips from Online Teachers

The transition to one hundred percent online learning has come with many challenges, for both students and teachers. Something that has likely dominated the minds of students using remote learning is the upcoming presence of online exams. Even under normal circumstances, exams serve as a significant source of stress for students.

Do not fret! Our Accountability Coaches have compiled a shortlist of ways that students can most effectively study for online exams. While online exams come with a set of their own unique difficulties, here are four methods to reduce stress and simplify the study process!

Remove any possible distractions.

While this may seem obvious, distractions should be avoided when studying, to ensure students will be able to recall the information when they need it. Unfortunately, due to the pandemic, it can be much harder to find a quiet place to study. Thankfully, there are still a few ways to ensure you can stay focused.

student overwhelmed by one exams

If you are unable to have a decent studying environment at home one option is to go to a public library. If you wear a mask and maintain social distancing, studying at a library is a solid alternative to home. This should provide you with a decent area to study for all upcoming exams.

The next step you should take to help focus is avoiding anything online that could distract you. As many classes have moved online, much of the study material will likely be online as well. Despite this, you should resist the temptation to listen to a podcast or play a game while you study, as those can hinder your absorption of the information. If you still feel the need to listen to something, we recommend either white noise or softer music.

Focus on what matters.

If your teacher has posted a study guide, make sure to focus your study strategy on those primary topics. Teachers do not make study guides for fun but rather for the benefit of their students and to encourage preparation.

Another tip is to have a brainstorming session with friends–virtually, of course! Brainstorm every possible question an exam could ask. If you find yourselves getting off-topic, try these tips to beat procrastination in the digital age.

You should also read through any portions of books that will be covered on the exam and, if available, study any portions that are singled out either by being highlighted or being bold.

With or without a study guide, you should read through your textbooks that will be covered by the exam. Despite some study guides being most helpfully comprehensive, they may still not include everything that will be on the exam, so re-reading is essential for success.

Do not wait until the last minute. Be prepared.

Online exams can come with some unexpected hurdles, so it is vital to know and understand the process for your online exam, whether this is the testing software, and what you can versus cannot use. 

african american student preparing for an online exam with textbook

For example, many schools use various proctoring programs that will need to be installed on your computer prior to the exam. Often used to prevent cheating between windows and tabs, proctoring programs could be required for your class.

Additionally, some exams will also require webcams to check if students are focusing on their exams–and not using their textbook as a helpful, and unethical, guide. Test your webcam and online software ahead of time! No one enjoys technical difficulties.

Use strategies to reduce test anxiety.

Finally, do not let the stress overwhelm you. While a bit of motivating stress can help push you through to the finish line, a mountain of worry should not drag you down.  While you should not completely disregard your upcoming exam, getting your mind and body too worked up before them could affect your well-thought-out study plan or impact your mental wellbeing. Try these twenty tips for developing a calm mind before a test.