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Exam proctoring- The Nuts And Bolts Of Web Proctored Exams

Examination and Proctoring | 12 Min Read

Exam proctoring- The Nuts And Bolts Of Web Proctored Exams

Introduction - What Is Exam Proctoring?

Exam proctoring is akin to an actual classroom setting, monitored by proctors from a place of their choosing. Exam proctoring is undertaken in real-time, using technology such as AI supplemented by human proctors who intervene upon observing any suspicious activity. An exam proctoring system simplifies the entire examination process for educators and students using technology, offering convenience and lending fairness and ease to the invigilation process.

Exam proctoring enables test-taking and test-hosting from any part of the world, meaning one can easily take a web proctored exam or an online proctored exam at home, at a library, at an exam center or any other safe environment of choosing.

Sounds interesting!

However, one of the most significant challenges in adopting online exam proctoring is that the traditional system of center-based exams has worked well. But with ‘return to business as usual’ still doubtful, can one afford to wait and watch? We don’t think so. The future is dynamic, and there is an urgent need to evolve. The time to embrace change is now.

Hence, we bring to you a handbook, which is an excellent source of information about administering web proctored exams for all stakeholders, such as administrators and students.

In this handbook, we’ll cover:

Chapter 1 – Things to expect from a web proctored exam

Chapter 2 – How to prevent cheating using test proctoring software

Chapter 3 – What is the process of a web proctored exam, and how are they set up?

Chapter 4 – What are the tips to conducting a successful web proctored exam?

Chapter 5 – Conclusion

Chapter 6 – Frequently asked questions

Burst the greasy bubble and rewire some traditional habits. Let this handbook address your apprehensions concerning the ubiquitous phenomenon of online exam proctoring.

Together, let us go beyond our self-invented limits and plan for a more tech-enabled and forward-looking academic year.


Chapter 1 - How Does An Online Exam Proctoring Work and What to Expect from Proctored Exams?

A sizable number of examiners leverage online exams proctoring using the web, mobile devices and other knowhow. Consequently, numerous digital platforms and technologies have emerged to accelerate the push toward digitization. Concepts such as exam proctoring, AI-driven monitoring and LMS innovations, etc., have made an explosive entry, dynamically shifting the focus toward web proctored exams. Most varsities the world over either seem to be talking about it or embracing it. However, a few are still trying to keep pace by pondering on means to unlock this opportunity. They are progressive, no doubt, but need concerted handholding to address gaps to help them meet their goals.



Hence, this chapter, ‘Things to expect from a web proctored exam,’ elucidates a comprehensive and carefully thought-out gist of what forms the crux of exam proctoring or web proctored exams for both educationists and students. It provides some background knowledge that’ll help ease the entities into the system and eliminate real or perceived concerns.

Let’s explore:


A) What is a web proctored exam?


A web proctored exam, as we mentioned, means having an individual (proctor) overseeing an exam and monitoring the students online by using a webcam, a microphone-compatible computer and an uninterrupted internet connection. A host of advanced AI-powered anti-cheating technology at the proctor’s disposal predicts and prevents instances of any unwarranted activity during the assessment.


B) How can students and proctors engage in exam proctoring?


The basic requirements of engaging in exam proctoring involve access to:

  • A suitable device (desktop PC/laptop) with a functional webcam and a microphone.
  • Internet connection with a minimum speed of 512kbps.
  • The latest version of Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox or other such browsers.


C) Who can make use of online proctoring?


Online proctoring can be used by:

  • Universities and institutes that seek to conduct safe and secure online exams.
  • Educators who need to assess students through assessments.
  • Academia that offer certification programs for online courses and seek exams to ensure that only worthy students are certified after scrutiny.
  • Organizations and businesses wishing to evaluate employees remotely.


D) How does a proctored exam work?


A proctored exam is a two-sided affair involving a candidate and a proctor. A remote proctor, on average, invigilates 6 to 32 test-takers simultaneously, with a one-to-many or one-to-one view. The test can commence with all the prerequisites in place. Here is a quick summary of how a web proctored exam commences.

  • Initially, the candidate must fill in all fields, including the name, date of birth, age and gender.
  • Then comes the authorization page, wherein the test-taker allows the proctoring system to assume control by enabling the sharing of his/her screen, video and audio feed.
  • Afterward, the test-taker must present valid ID proof. The facial recognition feature validates the face; other vital details are verified by human proctors available round-the-clock by cross-checking every applicant’s photo ID against the previously shared registration detail to attest to their legitimacy.
  • Once all requests are enabled and approved, the candidate is ready to be proctored, and the process of exam proctoring can begin. An image of the same has been shared below:
  • While the test-takers take the exam, the proctor monitors the candidates in a grid view via the webcam, observing their tabs using another window. Along with the proctor, AI also runs in the background and monitors activities. The moment AI finds something suspicious, such as a candidate hiding from the screen or the visibility of another person in-between, the AI will flag it off, saying, “the candidate not visible” or “additional person present,” alerting the proctor.
  • Some exam proctoring sessions may also have a chatbox (seen at the bottom corner of the window) employed to relay any further information from or to the examinee. For example, the proctor is notified when any suspicious candidate movement is flagged. Before the proctor decides the course of action, he/she leverages the live chat option to interact with students to ascertain the situation.

Some web proctored exams may also feature proctoring tools, such as a secure exam browser running in the background to limit navigation control – which opens the examination window in a sanitized kiosk mode, which can only be shut once the exam concludes. This arrangement restricts students’ access to other browsers, tabs or files and the use of software and tools, such as screen-sharing, WhatsApp and mirroring, during the exam.

  • The web proctored test is evaluated, and the results are automatically submitted instantaneously after the test is completed. The candidate is presented with a question-wise and section-wise comprehensive report of his/her performance.


E) What are the different types of exam proctoring that an institute can use?


The different types of online exam proctoring include:

Live Proctoring:

Live proctoring is much like an actual classroom setting. Except, an online proctor invigilates multiple examinees remotely, using a real-time audio and video feed, from start to finish.

Auto Proctoring:

It is an advanced form of web proctored test that is AI-enabled, automated and helps conduct online examinations without human intervention.

Recorded Proctoring:

It is an AI-enabled webcam proctored test, wherein the screen and the audio-video feed of the students are recorded throughout the test without any real-time monitoring.


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F) How are web proctored exams different from un-proctored exams?


An un-proctored online exam is the same as taking an offline exam without an invigilator in the room. Imagine taking an exam minus any supervision during the process. Wouldn’t there be a slight temptation to cheat? Not for all. But for some, having no invigilators or supervisors would undoubtedly be an incentive to refer to course material, ask friends and family for help or even browse the internet for suitable answers. And if the exam’s fairness is compromised, the results and the evaluation reports would be inaccurate, wrongly reflecting the students’ actual abilities and institutions’ integrity. Subsequently, it would also hamper the morale and efficiency with which some righteous students prefer taking their exams. Hence, administering un-proctored exams can potentially hurt an institute’s credibility.

In a web proctored exam, however, test-takers are aware that innovative technologies and vigilant proctors are constantly monitoring and analyzing their behaviors and activities. Hence, they are more mindful of their actions and prefer not to trick the system.


G) What is the effectiveness of an online proctored exam?


For those wondering what makes a web proctored exam an effective solution to tide over disruptions! Well, it offers unparalleled ease to academia, besides allowing students the flexibility and convenience to take online exam proctoring from anywhere.

But that’s not it. Here are some other advantages that lend more credence to the idea of adopting an online proctored exam.

1. Elimination of unfavorable instances

As we mentioned earlier, there are always a handful of students who resort to cheating while taking an online proctored exam. However, advanced exam proctoring empowers teachers, recruiters and administrators to closely monitor test-takers’ actions and conduct. This filter serves as a significant deterrent when test-takers know that a prolific digital tool would validate their identities and monitor them online, relentlessly, from start to finish.

2. Boosting eLearning

MOOCs, also known as massive open online courses, are easily accessible eLearning programs. There has been genuine skepticism about enrollments as it is a bit rich to expect students to fly long distances each time to appear for an exam. It is expensive, time-consuming and unsuitable for most, especially amid nebulous aviation rules in the backdrop of COVID-19-induced restrictions. However, online remote proctoring solutions have paved the way for eLearning, which is perceived as the future of learning. Candidates can enroll from anywhere and learn new skills and subjects without having to resort to correspondence education! Students gain access to world-class education and evaluation, benchmarked against the best in the world, with web proctored exams.

3. Saving time and financial resources

The conventional examination method comprises the following steps:


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This process stretches for months and is excruciatingly time-consuming. Not to mention the geographical limitations that come into play. But employing smart technology such as an online proctored examination reduces logistics hassles, evaluation issues and scalability problems for many. With the easy and convenient availability of a proctor (manual or AI), test-takers from far-flung areas can also take their exams from their homes with ease. Simultaneously, while deterring cheating, exam proctoring enhances productivity and improves operations by eliminating repetitive and human work. The examiners do not have to spend hours evaluating answer sheets, as the instantaneous result generation feature auto-evaluates reports with granular insights that yield actionable results.

Online proctored exams are revolutionizing the education system, drastically reducing the number of hours spent in the classrooms. These exams have made assessments a highly engaging and enjoyable experience.


H) How is an online proctored exam different from a center-based exam?


You’ll be surprised to know that there is no difference between an online proctored exam and a center-based exam. An online proctored exam replicates the traditional physical invigilation process and enables the right decision-making. Here’s how:

Verification before the exam

In a center-based exam, a student is allowed to enter the exam hall and take the test only after his/her identity is verified across all checkpoints by the invigilators present at the examination center. The identification process is the same in online exam proctoring. Students can take a web proctored test only after the following criteria are met. Here is a brief lowdown:

The test-takers have allowed for sharing their screens, video, and audio feeds, following which a 3-point candidate authentication occurs. Here is how:

  • First, the webcam asks the test-taker to click his/her photo
  • Then he/she must show his/her valid ID proof to the camera
  • Afterward, human proctors available round-the-clock verify every applicant's photo ID against the previously shared registration detail to attest to their legitimacy.

Supervision during the exam

Once the test-takers are verified in a center-based exam, they take their designated seats to begin their assessment. The physical invigilators then monitor each student’s behavior closely, from start to finish. Similarly, in online exam proctoring, an online proctor significantly impacts an exam’s validity and integrity with airtight invigilation. He/she also ensures those who register for an online course are the ones who participate and complete it. Online test proctoring also gives invigilators an added advantage of leveraging anti-cheating tools that streamline patrolling and negate academic integrity issues by enhancing the efficiency of the entire exam-taking process.

Does this assuage your concerns about web proctored exams? Aren’t web proctored exams a significant replacement for recreating the same proctoring experience without raising concerns over safety or credibility?

If you need more detailed proof on the safety of web proctored tests and the various cheating prevention mechanism that can be leveraged to thaw even the most creative cheating attempts – the next chapter awaits you.


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Chapter 2- How to Prevent Cheating Using Test Proctoring Software

Test proctoring software is the latest technology employed by administrators to create a secure testing environment to curb instances of academic dishonesty. It analyzes:


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Proctors ensure that no student has an unfair advantage with the prowess of an advanced AI mechanism. Hence, test proctoring software has become a critical component to overcoming disruptions or any form of misconduct, ensuring learning and education continuity.

Let’s explore the above-mentioned facets of test proctoring software, that when enabled, ensure a flawless exam administration:


Monitoring the test-taker’s behavior


Since the prerequisite for exam proctoring involves accepting screen and video and audio sharing, the online invigilator using AI monitors every action and activity of the test-taker remotely. Conditions such as the applicant’s face not visible or partially visible, the presence of another person in the room, constantly distracted movements, the presence of an unauthorized device, whispering in the room, to name a few, account as suspicious activities and are often flagged off during the exam proctoring process. Proctor has the authority to decide whether to flag the concerned activity as cheating.


Monitoring the test-taker’s screen and system


Once the candidate’s behavior is under supervision using quality video footage, proctors maintain the online proctored exam’s sanctity by monitoring the candidate’s on-screen activity. Indeed, some ingenious students try to trick the proctors by exploiting navigation privileges or using online resources for cheating on-screen. Proctors can keep themselves a step ahead by employing a remarkable next-generation anti-cheating solution called the Secure Exam Browser. This lockdown browser is a customized browser setting that prevents any form of digital/ on-screen cheating during an online exam. A lockdown browser runs full-screen on the system; hence, the student cannot move out of the window or access any unauthorized application without permission.

This means:

  • No opening of new browser tabs/incognito tabs/ windows on the browser
  • Restricting keyboard functions, such as Alt+Tab/ Cmd+Tab/ 3-finger swipe
  • Blocking copying/pasting of content
  • Automatically closing all running browser tabs

Monitoring the test-taker’s environment


If you thought merely monitoring the test-taker’s actions was enough, you may want to consider the helpers who often collaborate with the test-takers. These helpers are stationed away from the student and the webcam, preferably behind the system. But we have an effective way of ensuring safe, secure and fair examinations by scanning and verifying the test-taking environment. Following are some tools to ensure the same:

360-degree video capturing webcam

A 360-degree video capturing webcam that a student can attach to his/her computer screen. Or the test-taker has a headgear with a camera attached to capture his/her gaze and observe things that he/she is looking at during online proctored exams. Both these cameras allow the live proctor or the AI-proctoring software to view areas beyond the laptop/webcam coverage feed, providing an extra layer of security during virtual exams.

Audio proctoring software

Audio proctoring software is another innovative feature employed in exam proctoring to help a proctor monitor the background noise. By scanning the test-taker’s physical environment for additional sounds or noises using the microphone, an audio proctoring software ascertains the difference between sounds that can be and must not be present in a testing environment.

We genuinely hope the previous chapters have greatly eased your anxiety about matters concerning exam proctoring. And that you’ve been able to resolve issues hindering your consideration to implement them both as students and educators. Now it’s time we understand the process of a web proctored exam and the technicalities involved in setting it up.


Chapter 3- What Is the Process of An Online Proctored Exam and How It Is Set Up

Does the process of setting up online exam proctoring sound complicated to you? It isn’t. Activating test proctoring in any system is as easy as a walk in the park.

Exam proctoring can be initiated in either of the two ways:

  • Institutes that own a platform or an LMS (Learning Management System) can seamlessly add a layer of proctoring technology to their existing platform.
  • If you don’t have a platform, proctoring also comes integrated with a platform.

Here’s how it functions:


Proctoring integrated with a platform


Not every institute has its LMS or platform to conduct the examination. Hence, they require a combination of both platform and proctoring. In such a scenario, academia gets an end-to-end digital examination system that entitles professors to set up exams, schedule exams, manage candidate slotting, conduct exams and deliver results. A dedicated admin dashboard shares detailed analytics and log and video recording of the entire process for anytime review. A complete suite of proctoring technologies is pre-configured in the platform, offering a robust security mechanism.


Proctoring as a Service


Institutes that possess their LMS or platform but require only a seamless layer of proctoring technology can get proctoring added as a service. Proctoring as a service is an AI-powered or human layer of remote supervision that can be integrated onto any system, software or platform. This arrangement allows exam administrators and faculty to customize and initiate online proctored exams successfully at any given time with its credible anti-cheating features and insightful analysis.

There are two ways of integrating remote proctoring service onto any LMS or system:


online exam proctoring


A. By using LTI (Learning Tool Interoperability) extensions. For instance, Mercer| Mettl, a Gartner verified proctoring company, integrates its proctoring services online with over 250 LTI-compliant systems instantaneously. With a single protocol, any platform can have its sophisticated Mettl Proctoring as a Service (MPaaS) software within minutes.

B. The other way is via deep integration. For instance, Mercer | Mettl will expose its REST APIs to integrate with any system and enable test proctoring as a service online. It takes up to a week or more to set it up. Clients who require a custom proctoring workflow or have a Non-LTI LMS or web platform can opt for deep integration. Deep integration allows extensive customization possibilities with all significant LMS, HRMS and other platforms.



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Wondering how students initiate web proctored exams?

The students have to download the extension for proctoring and follow the LMS’s usual steps. Just as the candidate clicks on the “Start Exam” button on the LMS, he/she will be shown a pop-up notifying him/her about proctoring. Once verification checks are in order, a pop-up saying “Begin Exam” will be visible, and the student’s exam will commence.


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Now that you know what you need to activate exam proctoring, it is time you move on to selecting a vendor that provides such solutions.

But wait. Selecting the right online proctoring technology for monitoring online exams can be challenging. After all, there is no dearth of online solutions available on the market. But it is confusing to comprehend which vendor or which service is best suited for your needs. Don’t worry!; we’ve already done the hard work for you.

From those providing a state-of-the-art online proctoring platform, sophisticated online invigilation service to those offering detailed candidate performance diagnostic reports, here are the industry’s top 7 test proctoring software providers that enable a secure and fair exam proctoring experience.

Top 7 Test Proctoring Software Providers:

  • Mercer | Mettl
  • PSI Services LLC
  • ProctorU
  • Examity
  • Proctortrack
  • Proctorio
  • Talview


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Chapter 4- What Are the Tips to Conducting A Successful Web Proctored Exam?

The anxiety when doing something new often tends to get the better of us. But as Tom Peters would say: “Unless you walk out into the unknown, the odds of making a profound difference in your life are pretty low.” Therefore, we consulted some exam proctoring experts and accessed their understanding of the best tips and some creative tricks that could help educators and test-takers benefit from taking the exam proctoring route.

So, let’s first dive into what a student should consider before taking a web proctored exam. Apart from resisting indulgence in any form of cheating, here’s how students can ensure a seamless online proctored session.

Calm your nerves and understand the test guidelines

Placing oneself in a new environment can be overwhelming, but don’t let it stress you. Slight anxiety or nervousness is common, but you can’t let it hamper your performance. Read all the guidelines stated before and during the test to ensure you don’t miss out on anything. When you’re well prepared, be confident and give the exam without overthinking.

Familiarize yourself and know the test format

The best way to ease yourself into the online examination system is by familiarizing yourself with the environment. This begins by taking a full-length practice test before the actual exam. When you take a mock version, not only do you get acclimated with the online mode of assessment, the virtual environment and the process therein, but you can also better assess your performance. Simultaneously, it helps you acquaint yourself with the exam format and how you’re to answer each type. Many experts suggest taking regular, timed practice tests as they stimulate the actual exam environment, familiarizing test-takers with what to expect and easing anxiety.

Choose a safe environment

Before you start the online proctored exam, ensure the space you choose to take your exam is quiet, safe and well-lit. You should ensure that your surroundings are uncluttered and you are alone in your room. Ideally, inform your family members of your exam schedule to ensure there are no disturbances. AI-powered proctoring tools are highly advanced at picking up even the slightest whisper. You must ensure there is no noise or unwanted device anywhere within your reach that can be flagged as suspicious or create doubts in a proctor’s mind.

Test the functionality of your system

One crucial tip before you start your proctored examination is to test your system. Check that your computer meets the system requirements and that the microphone, webcam and the internet are tested to avoid errors during the online proctored online exam. Ensure you have all the handy information, right from all required writing material to valid log-in ID and password. Afterward, do not change the computer or the laptop you’ve tested to avoid any last-minute hassle.

Be aware of the do's and don’ts

Online and offline exam-taking from an educator’s perspective may not be very different. However, the process of taking the exam can be a bit divergent for the student. Hence, if you’re a first-time navigator, get your facts right about how the exam is structured, the due date to sign-up for the exam and what all needs to be submitted. Connect with fellow students and discuss how much time is allowed to complete the test, which would ensure you are not hard-pressed for time during the process. Every exam is different – what is allowed in one exam may not be permitted in another. Therefore, ask for guidance and clarifications from your faculty to ensure a seamless process.

Now let’s come to the educators. Apart from making oneself available for students, here is a list of considerations for an educator before initiating a web proctored exam.

Ease students into the system

The best way of ensuring a comfortable exam-taking experience for the students is by hosting a mock exam proctoring session for them. Running them through the entire process allows the students to understand the nitty-gritty of online exams, such as how to take the test and what is expected of them.

On the other hand, faculty can comprehend the mindset of the test–taker and can cushion each exam requirement as required.

Maintain data privacy

It is critical to protect the sensitive details of the test-takers. Hence, educationists must ensure proper protocols with proctoring partners to safeguard students’ data, such as personal information and academic records, from data thefts and leakages. Academia should also manage airtight access to such information.

Set clear guidelines

Establishing clear guidelines for exam proctoring from the beginning brings much transparency to the entire session – address queries such as the exam’s objective, how many questions to expect, the time in hand to complete the exam, grading system, and so on. There are no last-minute surprises once students know what to do and what is expected of them. The more explicit the rules, the easier the exam-taking process, and the lower the chances of any academic misconduct.

Provide flexibility

It is vital to remember that online exams are location and time-agnostic. This means not all students would be at the same location or in the same time zone. It makes it more critical for educators to be flexible with the exam dates, timings and deadlines. Subsequently, considering the intermittent of the internet at different places, educators also need to allow for some flexibility when test-takers are faced with technical issues. If a student gets logged out of a test due to a bad connection or power cut, the educator must have a command enabling him/her to resume the test from where he/she left, without any hassle.

Host easy-to-understand exams

The anxiety about doing something new is always high, so don’t worsen it by designing complicated online proctored exams. Now, this doesn’t mean one has to make an easy test paper. This means you should create easy-to-understand formats that can be answered without much assistance and hassles. Align the question papers to your learning modules as much as possible, which will also reduce the inclination to cheat.


What Is The Future Of Online Proctored Exams?


Online proctored exams have always been a more convenient choice for examiners and examinees. But incompetent cheating detection tools have been a perennial concern for administrators as they jeopardize the examination’s, and the institution’s, integrity. However, with the emergence of AI and its serious usages in proctoring solution companies, such as Mercer | Mettl’s proctoring services, the potential to enable clients to safely, securely and efficiently undertake online proctored exams is going to be unprecedented.


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We’re glad we’ve managed to grab your attention all this while. After all, we take examination integrity as seriously as you do, and that is why we innovate continually to help you keep up.

Is there anything else in which you need our assistance?

Do share with me. I’d love to examine them and solve them for you.

And if you enjoyed this article, do share it with your friends and colleagues!



Given below are answers to frequently asked questions that address typical queries of universities and organizations concerning online proctored exam cheating, remote proctored test meaning, online proctored exam at home, etc.

What is subsequent proctoring?

Can you cheat in an online proctored exam?

How much does an online exam proctoring cost?

Can online tests detect cheating?

Can a proctor see your screen?

Can the proctor see my hands?

What is online video proctoring? How does online video proctoring work?

Originally published March 27 2018, Updated July 19 2021

Shirisha Jain

Written by

Shirisha has been helping countless brands gain traction with her content. Her deep understanding of the education sector and sound knowledge of technical skills have helped her structure the most creative solutions for key stakeholders. Shirisha has also ghosted pieces for several industry honcho’s successfully published both online and offline. When she's not keeping up with the world, you're sure to find her catching up on bollywood stories or gramming for fun.

About This Topic

Online remote proctoring is the technology through which exams are conducted online in a cheating-free manner, using high-speed internet and a computer with a webcam. Online remote proctoring uses video streaming and AI or human proctors to invigilate large-scale exams securely.

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