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Examination and Proctoring | 8 Min Read

Online Web Proctored Exams: All You Wanted to Know

What Is Online Proctoring?

Web proctored exams have been steadily gaining ground in the certification industry. More professionals are seeking ways to earn professional certification with ease. And, more organizations are interested in digital solutions that will enable them to enhance the exam experience for their candidates. Now, candidates can sit the exams at a time and place of their choosing. An online proctor in charge invigilates the candidates by merely using a webcam and the respondents’ computer screen.

Online proctoring refers to a digital form of assessment which enables candidates to sit exams from any location. During online proctoring, the software is used to allow students and course participants to take exams at a place of their choosing. It has to be somewhere reliable and cheat-proof. Monitoring software is used to keep an eye on test-takers through video, establishing the credibility and authenticity of the exam.

What is Subsequent Proctoring?

Here images and logs are captured as candidates do the test and are recorded on video. Later on, a proctor will be able to assess whether they engaged in any form of fraud. It will be based on the evidence from the captured images. Examinees can take the exam at a time of their convenience. They can just log in and begin an exam without prior scheduling.

What Is Live Proctoring?

This type works like a real exam setting. An online proctor watches over examinees sitting the exam. Much like an actual classroom setting, the proctor can step-in when he/she observes anything suspicious. A proctor can easily monitor multiple candidates at a time, which is conditional on the service provider.

What is Automated Proctoring?

In auto proctored online tests, the software is used to detect any instances of possible fraud. It can detect whenever different software is opened or there’s another person in the room. The remote proctor is alerted to any such events, and he is in a position to review them.

Can You Cheat in Online Proctored Exam?

There are ample ways that examinees can beat the system, regardless of whether the examination is online or offline. They may use electronic gadgets or impersonation techniques to bypass anti-cheating systems. Still, with the advancement of online proctoring software, it has become impenetrable for cheaters to indulge in any malicious behavior.

Advanced auto proctoring and live proctoring are the two powerful tools to shatter every cheater’s dream. Live proctors can flag any undesirable action and easily detect multiple instances of cheating. Mettl’s online remote proctoring services ensure that virtual exams take place in a secure environment so that nobody can jeopardize the safety of the exam. With a host of features and easy LMS integration, the software enables smooth facilitation of online assessments remotely and prevents cheating in exams.

How Do Proctored Online Exams Work?

Remote proctoring enables an invigilator to invigilate assessments from any part of the world. With the advent of various cutting-edge tools in the market such as Mettl Remote Proctoring, it was feasible for the proctor to carefully observe an online exam live or a recording of the same. In an auto proctored online examination, the software is used to detect any instances of cheating automatically through technology.

Why Online Proctoring Is Important?

Online Web Proctored Exams_Makes International Education More Accessible  i) Makes International Education More Accessible

Many educational institutions have created virtual learning infrastructure to bring e-Learning courses for students from across the globe. However, it’s not financially feasible for students to catch a flight and cover a long distance to reach the school campus for taking certification exams. Online proctoring thankfully saves the day. Now students can sit the same exam without having to board a flight, regardless of their location.

Online Web Proctored Exams_ Allows Flexibility in Time_  ii) Allows Flexibility in Time

A flexible schedule allows both students and teachers to get more control over their working environment and schedule. With the advent of online proctoring came the convenience of scheduling and taking exams at a time that suits both parties. Online proctoring lends unparalleled ease to the candidates, giving them the freedom to sit exams at any time of their convenience.

Online Web Proctored Exams_ Favors All Students Without Regarding Location copy  iii) Favors All Students Without Regarding Location

Regardless of your physical location, you can sit exams with other students in other areas. It makes it easy for courses aimed at international students though it is also applicable for local education. It can work well if you study part-time or while working. You will not be required to always be on the school campus.

Online Web Proctored Exams_ Works for All Kinds of Exams  iv) Works for All Kinds of Exams

Online proctors can supervise all types of exams. Whether multiple choice questions, essays, or aptitude tests, online proctoring can work for you. It can offer assistance for any exam in digital format. In live proctoring, a webcam can be used to confirm a student’s handwritten notes.

Online proctoring is here to revolutionize the education system. It has cut down on the number of hours spent in the classroom and has made doing exams to be fun.

You may also want to read: Secure Exam Browser: Securing Online Exams with Navigation Control

Given below are some frequently asked questions that address common queries about online remote proctoring:

How Much Does an Online Proctoring Cost?

Online proctoring service providers tailor their offerings as per the clients’ functional budget requirements. The proctoring services on offer are readily accessible and affordable for all high and low stakes exams. However, customer satisfaction comes foremost, so the best practice is to opt for a free trial of the product to determine its effectiveness and ascertain its usability.

Can You Take a Proctored Exam at Home?

Online proctored (OP) exams enable participants to conveniently take an assessment in the comfort of their home while being remotely invigilated by an offsite proctor. Candidates can communicate with the proctor in real-time.

However, there are four simple requirements for taking assessments remotely:

  • A compatible device (Desktop, Laptop, Mobile, andTablet)
  • Uninterrupted connectivity (at least 256kbps)
  • Functional input devices: webcam and a microphone
  • Latest compatible browsers

Can Online Tests Detect Cheating?

Yes, detection of cheating is possible in an online exam. Online assessments have always been a more convenient choice for both the examiner and the examinee. But cheating and content fraud have always been a looming concern for the administrators as this could jeopardize the integrity of assessments.

Mettl proctoring services enable clients to safely, securely, and efficiently deliver assessments to participants. Advanced proctoring solutions eliminate the logistical hassles of dealing with test centers. Some intriguing features that ensure the authenticity and reliability of exams are 3 point candidate authentication, safe exam browser, and AI and human-based proctoring, among others. Maintaining the sanctity of exams is integral to the success of the assessment process, be it for high or low-stake testing.

Can Proctor See Your Screen?

With permission from candidates, proctors can view the candidate’s screen and utilize the keyboard and mouse as if they were sitting beside him/her. Once the test begins, proctors will start monitoring everything on the screen. During the test, a chat box is visible on the candidate’s computer screen, and he/she can see what permissions the proctor has at any time. The entire session log is saved along with a complete record of the actions the proctor took during the exam. 

However, proctors will not access the candidate’s computer files without his/her knowledge. Every action they take shows up on the screen and eliminates any possibility to perform any covert activity. Proctors can access only when they are granted access with explicit permission from the candidate.

How Are Proctored Exams Monitored?

A proctored exam is invigilated by an approved, unbiased person ( a proctor) who leaves no stone unturned in maintaining the integrity of the online examination process. Right from ascertaining the authenticity of candidates to overseeing every step of the exam process, a proctor is solely responsible for administering the entire process. With the advent of online proctoring services, digital technology is cutting down examiners’ burdens by providing end-to-end proctoring solutions.

Modern-day proctoring solutions are automated and flag any suspicious activity using advanced audio-video analytics. Proctored exams are either monitored through live online, recorded, or advanced automated proctoring. Online proctoring software ensures the candidates do not divert from the test screen by continually tracking the test environment and checking for suspicious activities. 

Can the Proctor See My Hands?

Not even just your hands or wrists that are hiding chits, but your whole intentions can be known to an online proctor (a human invigilator) because everything that’s happening in the student’s room is under the keen supervision of the proctor. Before beginning the exam, students should have to perform a 360-degree webcam tour of the area to ensure compliance with exam policies and regulations. Also, this activity helps proctors to ensure there are no schemes contrived to gain an undue advantage during the exam. The ongoing online surveillance prevents other unauthorized persons from entering the student’s room and also keeps the respondent from using any unfair means, of any kind, to beat the system. That’s where webcam monitoring comes in handy and eliminates any scope to cheat.

Now you might be wondering, how about googling the answers, using Wikipedia or social-networking sites to wade through this tricky situation. Well, cheaters will express their dismay knowing that by disabling the web search function during the assessment, it’s not likely to happen anytime soon. Moreover, screen-sharing technology in real-time aids a proctor in closely observing the on-screen behavior of the student. Even impersonation seems a far-fetched reality since the online exam process requires students to present their photo IDs at the start of every test, and proctors authenticate their identities, and that’s how the test begins.

Having witnessed various cheating instances for long in traditional classroom settings, it seems that digital proctoring services have made it impossible for cheaters to bypass the security framework.

Do You Need a Mirror for Proctoring?

There are multiple steps in the pre-exam checklist which the candidates need to follow, such as:

  • Students must ensure that the system used for taking the exam complies with the requirements of the online assessment platform. 
  • A well-lit and quiet room is suitable for taking the test. Daylight-toned light bulbs and overhead lighting are the best ones. However, if overhead lighting is not feasible, be sure that the placement of the light source is not right behind you. It can be hard for the proctor to see clearly in the absence of proper light. 
  • Examinees should have their photo ID ready. 
  • They should use reflecting surfaces like a mirror to show the edge of their screens to the proctors. 
  • It’s advisable to stop all websites, programs, and apps that are not related to the exam. 
  • Students should refrain from bringing additional people in the room and always take the test in a private location.  
  • They mustn’t use any hats, sunglasses, and earphones as these accessories can be used to cheat during the test. 
  • Physical and digital notes should better be taken off from the workspace. 
  • Also, candidates should refrain from using gizmos that the proctor is not aware of. 

Can You Cheat on a Lockdown Browser?

The lockdown feature enables examiners to list those apps and websites that need to be blocked. Enabling the feature will restrict examinees from opening those apps or software. It disables features that may benefit those people who want to pass the test via unfair means such as screen-sharing, screen recording, etc. Mettl Secure Browser (MSB) is one such feature that works as a separate browser and provides a secure browsing environment for both the examiner and candidate. 

How Are Proctored Exams Different from Unproctored Exams?


Even though unproctored testing for employers is a more cost-effective and flexible option than proctored testing, it raises concern about credibility, most crucially cheating. Recent research pointed out that candidates in a proctored setting perform significantly better. The study was intended to assess how candidates fared in an exam in a proctored vs. unproctored environment. Respondents solved questions from an online assessment battery, based on which predicting job performance was as easy as pie. It was found that the average marks scored by the participants in a proctored environment were slightly higher than in an unproctored environment. This, however, contradicts the popular notion that individuals taking exams in an unproctored setting have the edge in the cheating war. Some people assume that test-takers in a proctored setting take their assessments more seriously with fewer distractions and perform much better as compared to the unproctored environment.

How Mercer | Mettl Can Help?

Universities, colleges, and educational institutes are increasingly shifting their examination to the online mode, be it semester exams, entrance exams, or course certifications. Undeniably, there are significant advantages of switching to online exams such as it requires no physical centers required, are easy to schedule, have enhanced scalability, and can be attempted from anywhere. However, the biggest challenge is to maintain the integrity of online exams. With Mercer-Mettl’s suite of advanced proctoring technologies, it is quite simple to conduct a highly secured exam with high integrity. The suite consists of three-point candidate authentication checks to curb the risk of impersonation in online exams. The manual and AI proctoring are the two core technologies that make the invigilation process quite easy. This technology comes in two forms: AI-based proctoring and live proctoring. These two can be used separately or together, depending on the clients’ needs. Mettl secure browser is yet another essential feature to conduct online exams safely. Mettl’s suite of proctoring technologies can be deployed in two ways: 1) examination platform, 2) proctoring as a service( MPASS). Mettl examination platform, an easy to use and scalable tool, enables you to create exams and certifications. It comes pre-configured with Mettl’s complete suite of proctoring technologies. MPASS can be easily integrated with any client platform through API. It can be used if you have an existing online or LMS platform and you need an additional layer of proctoring technology. It’s LTI compliant proctoring technology enables instantaneous integration with common LMS OR LTI based online systems. Online examinations must be highly secure and credible, and that’s where Mettl solutions come in handy.


Originally published March 27 2018, Updated June 15 2020


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