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Ensuring academic integrity: Securing online exams

Examination and Proctoring | 4 Min Read

Ensuring academic integrity: Securing online exams


Cheating in exams refers to intentional academic misconduct that gives specific candidates an unfair advantage over others. It has emerged as a pressing issue in the digital era, presenting significant challenges to institutions.

Students cheat for numerous reasons, including inadequate preparation, the need to maintain a specific score, fear of disappointing others, and the desire to outperform peers, even if it requires using unethical tactics.




Importance of maintaining academic honesty in an online examination

It is important to prevent cheating as it undermines the very foundation of education and academic integrity. Examinations aim to test knowledge and reinforce learning to help students retain the information in the long term. Cheating deprives candidates of the opportunity to learn and grasp the material effectively. Therefore, it may provide short-term benefits but hampers a student’s long-term success.


Ten measures to prevent cheating


Validating identification twice

Impersonation is one of the most common forms of examination malpractice, wherein students do not take the exam themselves and have someone take it on their behalf. Examiners can leverage student authentication tools that verify student identity at the start and during the exam.

Human and automated proctoring

Test organizers can use comprehensive human and AI-based proctoring technology to continuously monitor and record the examinee and flag any unwarranted behavior. This approach to online exam proctoring delivers a much less intimidating and non-invasive testing experience.

Hiring managers can use artificial intelligence and deep learning to detect suspicious behavior using head-pose variation and eye tracking. Afterward, a human proctor could use the evidence to confirm whether a student has cheated.

Capturing screenshots

The test organizer can identify any forbidden material on the student’s computer by capturing random screenshots of the examinee’s screen during the exam.

Using wearable camera

A wearable camera helps in evaluating what the student sees during a test. It detects virtual machines, remote connections, screen sharing, forbidden materials, or any unauthorized devices in the testing room.

Using IP tracking

This technology tracks the examinee’s IP address and lets the administrator know if a student switches their device’s location. It can simultaneously stop attempts to access the test platform from multiple devices.

Reducing student test pressure

Many students feel worried before an exam because they don’t know what to expect and have technological concerns. Using online proctoring software that combines artificial intelligence with human proctors helps support students during the exam.

Detecting voices and sounds in the room

Using voice detection software that tracks particular words or phrases, such as ‘Hey Siri’ or ‘OK Google,’ identifies students attempting to gain an unfair advantage. It alerts a live remote proctor in real-time to intervene in the online exam session via a chat box.

Using a browser lock as an initial defense

Using the Mercer | Mettl Secure Exam Browser prevents students from cheating in online tests. It is a lockdown browser consisting of anti-cheating technologies mainly used to restrict access to other sites and remove additional tabs, browsers, and unauthorized applications. It turns off shortcuts and keyboard functions like print commands, desktop screen capturing, desktop recording, and connection to external ports, drives, or other devices. The test-takers are not permitted to navigate away from the test window.

The Mercer | Mettl Secure Exam Browser creates a safe test environment where the allowed apps and websites are predefined.

Analyzing reports to identify exam trends that may highlight academic dishonesty

Use reporting and recordings from the online proctoring software to better understand how students approach exams. For example, Mercer | Mettl’s reports collect extensive data and provide actionable insights, including relevant student activity, such as violations and suspicious behavior.

Change the sequence of test questions

Students might use screen-sharing to take the test with their classmates and share answers. In the test, make sure that the questions and answer choices are in a different order for each exam.


How can cheating be detected in an online exam?

Detecting cheating focuses on identifying instances of academic dishonesty that have already occurred during the exam. Some tools and methods can be used to identify suspicious behaviors and patterns, such as:

Proctoring software:

This involves using specialized software that monitors students during the exam through webcam and screen recording to detect unusual behaviors like looking off-screen or using unauthorized resources.

Plagiarism detection:

This involves scanning exam responses for copied content from external sources, including previously submitted works or other students' submissions.



Tech advancements have unlocked safe and rigorous testing solutions. Its integration at each level of the examination system solves significant challenges for an educator. Mercer | Mettl’s suite of online proctoring services supervises a candidate from the start to the end of the examination with strict audio and video monitoring.




AI-powered technologies, including student authentication, proctoring technology, and Mercer | Mettl Secure Exam Browser, ensure a fair online examination free from cheating. Proctoring technology has enabled leading recruiters to solve prevalent challenges and unlock incredible opportunities for their online examination model.



How can online exams prevent cheating?

How does a lockdown browser detect cheating? 

Originally published August 4 2023, Updated August 4 2023

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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