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Examination and Proctoring | 4 Min Read

The Advantages and Disadvantages of an Online Examination System


The online examination system has ushered a revolution in how examinations are being conducted traditionally. The online exam advantages are multifold, especially with the ongoing pandemic impacting the global education landscape. Online exams have ensured educational continuity, providing the option of taking an exam remotely in a secure virtual environment using the latest technology. There are several benefits of an online examination system as it is conducted digitally to evaluate students’ academic knowledge and understanding of the curriculum. It also offers creativity to devise new ideas and solutions. Typically, evaluations continue to be based on the pen-and-paper approach, wherein students are gathered and handed the question paper to be completed within the allotted time. Students submit their answer sheets, and examiners disclose their scores after the evaluation.

There are immense benefits of an online examination system. While the traditional methodology persists, but, instead of an examination center, students log onto an online system to take the test and share their responses. The assessor evaluates and circulates the test results.


The Advantages Of An Online Examination System

There are many advantages of online examination systems – they are secure, customizable, reliable, highly interactive, reduced turnaround time and accessible via various devices. Online testing is an objective and systematic evaluation of human abilities, skills, behaviors/characteristics, etc. These assessments take place over the internet using available web technologies. Online testing has become increasingly popular in these areas: education, government and corporate companies.

The benefits of online testing include a wealth of assessment opportunities for both the examinee and the examiner providing the assessment. Organizations can receive multiple benefits by making the transition to online assessments, whether it is about a corporation running certification programs, a college adopting an online mode for conducting exams or a training company planning to scale up assessments. Given below are some benefits of switching to an online exam system:


Benefits Of An Online Examination System


  • Environment-Friendly
  • Economical
  • Quick Turnaround Time
  • Highly Secure
  • Easy-to-use
  • Autograding


The traditional pen-and-paper exams have detrimental effects on the environment. Considering the copious waste of paper, efforts must be made to minimize the natural resource usage. In a world where addressing the climate change crisis is our utmost priority, one of the advantages of an online examination system is substantially safeguarding the environment. With technology, it is apparent that nature doesn’t have to bear the brunt of human insensitivity any longer. The adverse environmental impact of mercilessly cutting down trees for paper is evident. However, using an online exam system will ensure that institutions and organizations can go paper-free and not print exam papers and create a paper record of applicants, etc.

Technologically Advanced

The all-pervasive nature of technology and its impact on the way of life is blurring the difference between real and virtual. There is a considerably lower use of pen and paper in the digital age. A vast majority of professionals rely on computers for emails, presentations, digital designing and various other tasks. Human preference has altered considerably with the infusion of technology. 

One of the many advantages of an online examination system is that it enables the examiners/recruiters to scale up their evaluation processes without glitches. It is also making inroads into the student fraternity as ease and ubiquity have given them enhanced access to education. Their familiarity with online exam platforms is growing by the day. The more they are comfortable with such an interface and process, the better their efficiency when using a system.




The administrators experience numerous online exam advantages. When considering the human, logistic and administrative costs associated with the traditional exam setting, it’s easy to distinguish an online exam system as the most economical system to conduct exams at scale. There is no need for students to assemble in large, spacious classrooms to take the test. The flexibility of time and venue lend considerable popularity among examinees. Online exams don’t require renting a class or hiring an assessor for manual invigilation. 

Organizers are grappling with increasing overheads such as costs associated with securing an exam venue, printing question papers and providing students with exam answer-sheets and supplementary materials. The benefits of an online examination system can only be realized when it has been adopted to improve the efficacy of the examination process. There’s so much that goes into setting up an examination – from teachers toiling to manage exams successfully, to administrators who must ensure utmost convenience for all examinees. Thereby, the advantages of an online examination system include eliminating redundant and expensive processes, bolstering the bottom line of an educational institution administering the system.

Quick Turnaround Time

The enormity of the task is known to everyone involved in designing, managing and evaluating assessments, from students to teachers. One of the essential benefits of an online examination system is that it reduces the time invested in overseeing the entire examination process. The exam platform saves precious time for both students and teachers, which would otherwise be wasted on repetitive tasks. The exam software features the option of adding and importing questions, enabling students to access the exam and facilitating batch-wise examinations. 

Traditionally, exam distribution demands adequate time for end-to-end management. On the contrary, the benefits of an online examination system have expedited the process. Examiners can merely upload the email ids of the participants and invite them for the assessment; the most notable aspect is the instant generation of the results.

Highly Secure

One of the main benefits of an online examination system is the enhanced privacy for students, which validates the usefulness of the entire process. There is no room for conducting malicious activities to rig the system and produce incorrect results, indulge in cheating or other such unlawful practices. In such a secure system, students too embrace the results without contesting the outcomes, which encourages positive growth. Such levels of security and privacy foster a more positive mindset toward the educational institution and build a stronger mutual trust among teachers and students, ensuring overall transparency and bias-free results.


One of the main advantages of an online examination system is the ease-of-use for the administration and the students. The examiners can easily set up the questionnaire, determine the grading and send invites to students. Meanwhile, students can take exams remotely. Even participants from remote areas can attend the exam. Moreover, there is no scope of question paper leaks as every student gets a randomly selected set of questions as per the arrangement determined by the examiner.


The benefits of an online examination system include setting up an automated grading system, more convenient than a standard grading method. The proliferation of technology in elearning and the increasing number of participants mandate a flawless scoring mechanism that eases teachers’ burden, saves time and ensures fairness. Automated scoring finds the correct answers by comparing the respondents’ reply against the model answer. Interestingly, MCQs are extensively used in online tests because they make automatic scoring by a computer easy.

Trends in Teaching and Assessment

The ubiquity of technology such as iPads, personal computers, etc. have eased the rigorous transition to online examination software. Most schools and colleges use a learning management system (LMS), also publishing study material on the cloud. Moodle, Blackboard, Desire2Learn, etc. are some of the leading management systems used by various reputed institutions.

This alternative mode of teaching has enabled educators to impart advanced-level skills and techniques to their students, enabling them to evaluate and grade with ease. 

Conversely, students benefit from such systems as they can write their tests and submit their assignments remotely.


The Disadvantages Of An Online Examination System

Let us look at the disadvantages of an online examination system:

  • Challenges in Technology Adoption
  • Infrastructural Barriers
  • Difficulty in Grading Long-answer Type
  • Susceptible to Cheating
  • Transitioning to Open-Book Exams

Challenges in Technology Adoption

Implementing a new system may create a minor disruption and require a period of familiarization by the users. Any transition from traditional methodology to the online mode will require some investment from educational institutions to upgrade the systems. However, familiarizing both students and teachers with the transition is the ideal way forward. Such training would educate students and teachers about the new features and benefits of an online examination system.

Infrastructural Barriers

One of the major disadvantages of an online examination system surfaces in remote locations where access to electricity, stable internet connection and other basic system requirements are difficult to meet. Such barriers impede online exams. Therefore, while shifting to the online mode, institutions must consider whether all students can appear for the test and what arrangements can be made to ensure the same.

Difficulty in Grading Long Answer-type

Even though online examinations have eased the invigilators’ job, the problem arises mostly with long answer-type questions. Subjective answers require manual grading, for which examiners need to invest additional time. This is where the modern system overlaps with the traditional one. As technology in the education sector continues to evolve, the grading of subjective answers would become easier.

Susceptible to Cheating

One of the major disadvantages of an online examination system is cheating. Especially in high-stakes exams, students often resort to impersonation, making universities suspect test-takers’ identity. Students may also get external help via smartphones or smartwatches. The systems used by candidates also offer multiple cheating opportunities, such as connecting external storage devices, screen sharing, etc. 

These cheating instances can be averted with Mercer | Mettl’s highly secure examination platform, featuring advanced AI-based proctoring features. Our three-step authentication process, secure browser and multiple proctoring features flag a host of malpractices, lending credibility to online exams.

Transitioning to Open-Book Exams

Usually, the format of online exams is perceived as akin to open-book exams. Unlike a traditional exam setting where external materials are not permitted inside the exam hall, there is no such provision in the digital format. In fact, it is difficult to stop students from referring to their study materials during an online assessment. Moreover, there is a lack of supervision during the exam session, which jeopardizes the credibility of these tests.

However, an advanced online platform such as Mercer | Mettl offers several benefits of an online examination system to address the challenge in online remote proctoring. This unique service curbs cheating by providing online proctoring services to keep candidates from indulging in untoward activities. Using this service, teachers can safeguard examination integrity. If a candidate deviates from their computer screen to use reference material or seeks support from another person or attempts to open multiple tabs on the browser, proctors will flag such a suspicious behavior and take appropriate action.



There are merits and demerits of an online examination system, as mentioned above. While technology continues to simplify processes for educational institutions, educationists and students, it has limitations. However, choosing the right online examination platform can help you avert such drawbacks. An easy-to-use, robust, secure examination platform with all the latest AI-based anti-cheating measures enables you to get credible results quicker.


How Mercer | Mettl Can Help?

Mercer | Mettl’s online examination system helps conduct high-stakes assessments on its secure examination platform, preloaded with online proctoring. The tool enables companies to manage the end-to-end online assessment process. From online registration, test creation, and center management to real-time reporting, the entire process is centered on helping clients conduct assessments effortlessly and efficiently.




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What are the advantages and disadvantages of an online examination system?

Originally published April 2 2018, Updated August 12 2021

Megha Singh

Written by

A writer at heart, Megha has been in the content industry for 4 years. Starting her career from print, her journey spans across IT, legal and consulting industries. She has been associated with Mercer | Mettl as Assistant Manager, Content Marketing for 2 years.

About This Topic

Online examination, also known as virtual examination, is conducted remotely on a computer with high-speed internet. Like a classroom exam, it is time-bound and usually supervised through a webcam and proctor, making it cheating-free, secure and easily scalable.

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