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Examination and Proctoring | 4 Min Read

The advantages and disadvantages of an online examination system


As technology continues to advance and change the assessment landscape, online exams have become a common feature of the modern-day evaluation system. With the shift from traditional examinations to digital alternatives, it is essential for candidates and educators to have an understanding of the benefits and drawbacks of online examinations.

In this guide, we will explore the various aspects of online exams, including their flexibility, accessibility, and the difficulties they present. We will also look at the advantages and disadvantages of this assessment method in greater depth.


The advantages of an online examination system

There are many advantages of online examination systems, such as security, customization, reliability, high interactivity, reduced turnaround time, and better accessibility.


1. Environment-friendly

The traditional pen-and-paper exams have detrimental effects on the environment. Considering the waste of paper, online examinations minimize natural resource usage. In a world where addressing the climate change crisis is our utmost priority, this method substantially safeguards the environment.

The adverse environmental impact of cutting down trees for paper is reduced with the online examination, ensuring that institutions and organizations can go paper-free and not print exam papers and create a paper record of applicants.


2. Technologically advanced

In the past, a leading challenge for organizations and institutes was to conduct offline exams at scale. The cost and coordination involved in managing examinations at a large scale increase exponentially.

One of the benefits of an online examination system is reducing this hassle and using technology to conduct assessments at scale. Recruiters and exam coordinators can scale their evaluations without challenges and improve access to assessments and education.


3. Economical

When considering the human, logistic and administrative costs associated with the traditional exam setting, it’s easy to distinguish an online exam system as a cost-effective system to conduct exams at scale. There is no need for candidates to assemble in large, spacious test centers to take the assessment. The flexibility of time and venue is feasible for both candidates and evaluators.

Multiple factors are involved in setting up an examination, including invigilators to manage exams successfully, administrators to ensure convenience for candidates, etc. Online examinations eliminate redundant and expensive processes, ensuring evaluation efficiency and quality.


4. Quick turnaround time

One of the leading benefits of online examinations is that it reduces the time invested in overseeing the entire examination process. The exam platform saves precious time for both candidates and examiners, which would otherwise be spent on repetitive tasks. Examiners only need to upload the contact details of the participants and invite them to the assessment. Further, the results are generated instantly for quick evaluation during events like recruitment drives.


5. Highly secure 

An online examination system ensures secure execution. There is less room for cheating or other such unfaithful practices due to advanced proctoring and cheating controls, such as video and audio monitoring. In this secure system, candidates also embrace the results without contesting the outcomes, which encourages positive growth.


6. Easy-to-use

Online examinations are easy and seamless for the administration and candidates. The examiners can easily set up the questionnaire, determine the grading, and send invites to participants. Candidates and students can take these examinations remotely anytime, anywhere. Additionally, there’s less chance of question paper leaks as every participant gets a randomly selected set of questions as per the arrangement determined by the examiner.


7. Auto grading

An advanced online examination system has an automated grading system. This technology allows for a flawless scoring mechanism even when there are hundreds of candidates involved in the evaluation. This saves time for the proctor and ensures fairness for the candidates involved.

Automated scoring finds the correct answers by comparing the respondents’ replies against the model answer. Interestingly, MCQs are extensively used in online tests because they make automatic scoring simpler.


The disadvantages of an online examination system

Online examinations have improved the evaluation process, ensuring high efficiency, simpler execution, and desired output. However, there are both merits and demerits of online examination. Explore the limitations of online examinations and how to overcome them using the right proctoring technology.


1. Challenges in technology adoption

Implementing a new system may create a minor disruption and require a period of familiarization by the users. Additionally, any transition from traditional methodology to the online mode will require some investment to upgrade the systems. However, familiarizing both candidates and evaluators with appropriate training may minimize the transition challenges. Such training should educate evaluators and candidates about the features and benefits of an online examination system.


2. Infrastructural barriers

In remote locations where there is a shortage of electricity, lack of stable internet connection, and other basic challenges, online examinations may be difficult. Therefore, while shifting to the online mode, examiners must consider giving candidates appropriate time to arrange the necessary equipment for the test.


3. 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. With advanced proctoring technology, the grading of subjective questions can be streamlined using different norming techniques, support from external invigilators, and insightful reports.


4. Susceptible to cheating

Test takers often resort to impersonation and the use of 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.

Mercer | Mettl’s highly secure examination platform features advanced AI-based proctoring with a three-step authentication process and secure browsing. It flags many malpractices, such as impersonation and use of PDF, lending to credible online exams.

5. 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.

An advanced online platform such as Mercer | Mettl offers several benefits to address the challenges of remote proctoring. If a candidate deviates from their computer screen to use reference material, seeks support from another person or attempts to open multiple tabs on the browser, proctors will flag such 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 and organizations, 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 quickly.


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.



1. What are the disadvantages of an online examination?

2. What is the advantage of online assessments?

Originally published April 2 2018, Updated February 16 2024

Written by

Vaishali has been working as a content creator at Mercer | Mettl since 2022. Her deep understanding and hands-on experience in curating content for education and B2B companies help her find innovative solutions for key business content requirements. She uses her expertise, creative writing style, and industry knowledge to improve brand communications.

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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