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Examination and Proctoring | 4 Min Read

How to Prevent Cheating in Online Exams with 7 Proctoring Technologies


Guardian investigation’s study on academic misconduct revealed that the number of students caught cheating using technology has risen by 42% from 2012 to 2016. 

The Times reported on more than 50,000 cases of cheating at British universities in a three-year period between 2013 and 2016. The Guardian also found multiple websites that openly targeted students with devices that could be used for cheating.

One eBay seller of a wireless micro earpiece said it could be used for private investigators, law enforcement officers and students. It cost $13.99 (£11). Another company, Monorean, advertises itself as an online store to buy invisible earpieces for cheating in exams.

The person behind the company, who asked to be named only as Guillermo, said: “If you navigate our SITE, you’ll see that our target audience is mainly – if not entirely – students!

Deplorably, how to cheat on an online proctored exam is the most commonly asked question on Google itself. Hence, companies have to come up with advanced undetectable gadgets that can be used to detect and prevent cheating during examinations. It’s about time online examinations became armed with anti-cheating measures to thaw the sneakiest cheating attempt made using the most advanced gadgets. So then,

7 Online Proctoring Technologies to Prevent Cheating in Online Exams

We bring to you the 7 most efficient technologies that can be used to not only prevent cheating during online examinations but in due course also stop online cheating:


1. Online ID Authentication


Students and increasingly misusing the liberties offered by online examinations that can be taken from remote locations such as home to make impersonators take the test on their behalf. This is why in an online exam cheating prevention is necessary by making stringent candidate ID authentication a necessity to guard the integrity of the exam.

Online ID authentication provides universities and corporates the option to switch on candidate authentication while configuring exam proctoring setting.

a) How it Works

As soon as the candidate clicks on the test link, he/she is asked to click a photo of himself/herself and his/her ID proof and send across registration details (fields are customizable). The live proctors, available 24×7, verify the photo ID against registration details and verify if the candidate is legitimate.

b)  Technology Pros and Cons:

Pros: Keeps impersonators at bay

Online ID authentication can help ensure cheat proof online exams by not allowing fake exam takers or impersonators using facial recognition and other tools.

A 2013 U.S. Department of Education Office of Inspector General’s report indicates that an estimated $187 million in federal student aid was likely fraudulently acquired by rings of criminals between 2009–2012, using fake identities.

Cons: Single-step ID verification not foolproof

Many universities and corporates simply carry out a candidate ID authentication, which is not enough. For online ID authentication to be truly effective, it must have multiple checks such as biometrics, keystroke authentication, and questions to prove identity such as previous residence address.

c) Use Cases

School and university examinations, internal school and college assignments, MOOC tests, employment tests, Certification tests.


2. Secure Exam Browser


Safe and Secure Browser is a next-generation anti-cheating lockdown browser that helps prevent on-screen cheating. It enables you to host a test in a highly secure and safe environment where you pre-define the apps and websites that are allowed. The system automatically shuts down any other app or website that runs on the system while restricting functions on the keyboard and mouse. With such sophisticated anti-cheating software exams online will become extremely safe .

a) How it Works

The Secure Browser provides complete navigation control to the exam administrator by disabling a vadisables screen recording, screen projection, any desktop-based application and web-based application/page (unless whitelisted). By doing so, it prevents the candidate from screen sharing or browsing for answers on google, etc.

Some vendors provide secure browsers where there is no option of whitelisting applications, websites, etc.

Mercer | Mettl Secure browser

b) Technology Pros and Cons:

Pros: It is a great technology to enable open book exams, where certain resources can be made available to the students by whitelisting some of the links and software.

Some vendors disable external ports and restrict features such as copy, cut  and paste.

Cons: Secure Exam browser as a stand-alone measure to minimizing cheating in online exams is not very effective as it leaves the exam taker free to access resources outside the computer on which he/she is attempting the test to find the answer to questions.

c) Use Cases

Open book exams conducted by education institutions and corporates, internal assignments, certifications.

4) Providers

Mercer | Mettl, Honorlock, ProctorU, Examity


3. Mobile Phone and Test Leak Prevention


To prevent cheating during the online examination, companies are coming up with technologies to prevent candidates from searching for test answers online. This is enabled by preventing mobile phone usage during exams, removing or blocking sites that contain test answers and hosting the test on a secure browser.

According to a study conducted by USA Today, 1 in 3 students use cellphones to cheat on exam.

7 Online Proctoring Technologies That Guarantee High Test Integrity

a) How it Works

  • To ensure that the candidate does not look for answers online, this technology detects if any device where the candidate is logged in is showing any signs of activity such as opening a web browser or searching on google etc., during the exam. In case such an activity is detected, it is flagged.
  • The exam is conducted on a secure browser which prevents the candidate from opening any additional window than the test page (unless certain sites are whitelisted, and the candidate is allowed to access them during the exam).
  • This technology also scans the internet and blocks or reports sites that contain questions or answers to questions included in the test. This is done to ensure that the test is not leaked online.

b) Technology Pros and Cons

Pros: Prevents test paper leakage online

By scanning the internet for questions that match those included in the test/exam, this technology protects the integrity of tests by ensuring that the test was not leaked online before it is attempted by the candidate.

“In 2017, High School Board Exams question papers of 5 subjects were leaked and being circulated via WhatsApp, in Mumbai, India. Students were caught viewing the leaked images on their phone while giving the exam at the exam center.”

Cons: Not a stand-alone anti-cheating solution

As there is no live or auto-proctoring involved, the candidate can attempt cheating by using offline resources.

c) Use Cases

School and university examinations, employment tests, Certification tests, internal employee tests (as a part of Learning & Development initiatives)

d) Providers:



4. Auto-Proctoring


Proctoring is an anti-cheating mechanism that authenticates the identity of the test takers and prevents them from cheating during the exam. Auto proctoring, as the name suggests, is a method of proctoring that involves usage of a proctoring software. This online test cheating prevention software, monitors the candidate’s behavior and his/her computer activity via audio and video recording before and during the examination to detect any suspicious activity that can be construed as cheating.

“The market for online proctoring and remote invigilation is expanding at a fast pace. It is being predicted that this is going to be a whopping $10 billion market by 2026 covering all areas – educational, vocational, corporate, and training.”

a) How it Works

  • Once the authentication is done, the candidate can begin the test.
  • In the case of auto-proctoring, the AI algorithm continuously monitors the candidate live feed and screen recording for any anomaly. Auto-proctoring or AI-based automated proctoring services detects suspicious candidate behavior such as:
    • Candidate not present
    • Additional Person present
    • Suspicious gestures by candidates
    • Mobile phone detection
  • Any suspicious behavior is flagged. After the exam has ended, all the flags that have been reported are assessed.
  • After the test, most auto-proctoring service providers offer a proctoring report for each test taker that contains details of the AI flags indication suspicious behavior.

Mercer | Mettl ProctorPlus generates a detailed proctoring report that contains the candidate’s and candidate’s computer screen’s audio and video recording and AI flags for all suspicious activities detected. The report is available in pdf format and HTML format. The report comes with screen recording and live feed video embedded along with the flags that the AI algorithm raises. The flags are arranged in chronological order for easy access, and the video is marked with flags at respective timestamps.



Based on the session, the AI algorithm then generates a credibility index that can be used to weed out tests where test integrity has been compromised. Credibility Index can be customized to an institution’s needs. The Credibility Index takes inputs from Mercer | Mettl’s proctoring flags and test finish states. These are flags and states are:

  • Visual Proctoring flags
  • Face not visible
  • Another person there
  • Away from test window
  • Browsing Tolerance
  • Manual Proctoring

Mercer | Mettl's Credibility Index

b) Technology Pros and Cons

Pros: Cost-effective proctoring solution

Being a fully automated process that requires little to no human intervention, auto-proctoring is much cheaper than live proctoring.

Cons: Still a work-in-progress

Since auto proctoring makes use of machine learning to detect suspicious activity that can be construed as cheating during online exams, its accuracy in improving day by day. How effective a vendor’s auto-proctoring service depends on how much exposure it has in identifying faces of different races and regions, different voices, sounds, devices and applications such as mirroring, screen sharing, etc.

c) Use Cases

School and university examinations, MOOC tests, employment tests, Certification tests, internal employee tests (as a part of Learning & Development initiatives), internal assignments

d) Providers

ProctorTrack, ProctorCam, Proctorio, Respondus, ProctorFree, Mercer | Mettl


5. Record and Review Proctoring


Record & Review Proctoring provides the security of live proctoring but at a much reasonable price. A team of experts reviews each session diligently to weed out any instance where integrity has been compromised.

a) How it Works

In case of record and review, the auto-proctoring runs by default. The report available post exam is then reviewed by expert proctors to check for anomalies. Proctors are assisted by the flags of suspicion raised by our AI algorithms that enable them to conduct a thorough check.

b) Technology Pros and Cons

Pros: Cheaper than live proctoring

As the candidate’s audio and video records are assessed not in real time but later, the amount of manpower required is much lesser as the proctoring experts only have to review the flags submitted by the auto-proctoring software and verify if they are valid.

Cons: Time taking process

Record and Review proctoring is reactive in nature where the proctor can only assess the test integrity after the test has been attempted unlike live proctoring, where the human proctor can pause an exam and give live warnings to the candidate in case cheating is suspected. It also increases the time taken to generate results as the proctoring report has to be reviewed by the proctor after the exam before the result can be declared.

c) Use Cases

School and university examinations, employment tests

d) Providers

Mercer | Mettl, Examity, ProctorCam (Pearson), Proctorio, Respondus, ProctorFree

Mercer | Mettl's live proctoring

6. Live Proctoring


Live proctoring is a combination of auto and human proctoring, where the candidate giving the exam is simultaneously monitored in real-time by a live proctor (a person) and a proctoring software (auto-proctoring) that records candidate’s and their computer’s activity before and during the examination. A proctor is a person who is qualified and trained to carry out candidate (test taker) identity authentication and minimize cheating in online exams. The live proctor upon suspecting any suspicious behavior has permission to end the exam then and there. The online test cheating prevention software (auto-proctoring) provides a list of red flags whenever it detects suspicious behavior that can be reviewed in real time or afterward (recording) to assess the integrity of the exam and take appropriate action

a) How it Works

Live proctoring is a proctoring service that ensures in an online exam cheating prevention is easily possible from any remote location (e.g., home)

  • While configuring live proctoring settings for a test, the examiner is asked to choose a proctor to student ratio. Live proctoring can be of two kinds:
    • Dedicated proctoring: One proctor dedicatedly monitors one single candidate. Dedicated proctoring is highly advisable in high stake exams.
    • Classroom proctoring: One proctor monitors multiple candidates.  In classroom proctoring, the proctor makes use of the red flags that are pointed out by the Auto-Proctoring software to monitor multiple candidates simultaneously.
  • The live proctor/human proctor (a person who is monitoring the candidate’s behavior online in real-time as they take the exam) allows the examination to begin after authenticating the candidate’s identity and thoroughly assessing the test environment via the webcam.
  • In case of live proctoring, auto-proctoring runs in the background by default to assist the human proctor.
  • Once the student session starts after authentication, a human proctor will monitor all the candidates as per the ratio, assisted by the AI flags provided by the auto-proctoring software.
  • The live proctor can chat with the candidate in case of any issue; he can pause the test or end it if he detects any suspicious behavior. The candidate cannot see the proctor sitting on the other end, which helps her to concentrate on the test without someone distracting her.
  • The candidate’s activity such as video, audio, computer screen and, keystrokes information is monitored and recorded. The entire session recording is available in the proctoring report along with the live chat feed, any live proctor intervention, screen recording and AI flags for later audits.
  • To ensure that no valid test (where the candidate did not indulge in cheating) is declared invalid, the live proctoring report is saved to facilitate audits. The time-frame for which the proctoring reports are saved differs from vendor to vendor. Usually, vendors store proctoring records of a client for 3-6 months post the test. Mercer | Mettl ProctorPlus provides its client’s the option of saving their proctoring reports for the lifetime. Only after it is established beyond a shred of doubt that the candidate cheated, is a test declared invalid.

b) Technology Pros and Cons


i) Test integrity

Pros: Very low chances of cheating: With live proctoring, the steps that are taken to prevent cheating in online exams are so stringent that it is highly unlikely that a candidate can get away with cheating without the live proctor or auto-proctoring software detecting foul play. Even if the live proctor is unable to detect cheating during the exam, the exam recording can be viewed, and if signs of cheating are detected, the exam can be declared as invalid later.

Cons: Difficult to scale: As live proctoring requires human proctors to overlook the candidate’s action and behavior in real-time at the time of the test, it is not feasible of large-scale concurrent tests. Also, it is difficult to train proctors.

ii) Cost

Pros: Adjustable cost as per budget: Cost of live proctoring can be adjusted to meet the user’s budget by changing the live proctor: candidate ratio. If an exam is a very high stake and budget is no constraint, the customer can opt or 1: 1 ratio live proctoring, i.e., each candidate is monitored by one proctor, live. In case of budget constraints, customers can opt or 1:10 or higher live proctor: candidate ratios as well. In the latter case, one live proctor will simultaneously monitor 10 or more candidates.

Cons: With this robust anti-cheating software exams online will undoubtedly become secure but also more expensive: As live proctoring requires human intervention and cannot be done merely by using software, it is more expensive than remote proctoring and other purely software-based proctoring services.

c) Use Cases

School and university examinations, MOOC tests, employment tests, Certification tests, internal employee tests (as a part of Learning & Development initiatives)

d) Providers

ProctorU, Examity, Mercer | Mettl, Proctor360


7. Proctoring with 360-degree Camera


Companies are coming up with headgears and advanced gadgets to prevent students and other exam takers from cheating in exams. These technologies involve usage of a camera that can capture a 360-degree view of the room or venue where the candidate is attempting the exam to prevent cheating.

a) How it Works

The candidate is provided with either a 360-degree video and audio capturing webcam that they are supposed to attach to their computer screen or headgear with a camera attached to capture the candidate’s gaze and observe things that the candidate is looking at.

b) Technology Pros and Cons

Pros: Greater audio and video coverage

The 360-degree camera allows the live proctor or the auto-proctoring software to view areas beyond the laptop/webcam feed coverage providing an extra layer of security.

Cons: High one-time cost of expensive and cumbersome gadgets

Using this technology to prevent cheating during exams involves students having to buy the 360-degree cameras and headgears with motion-sensitive cameras, which is expensive. Also, it is cumbersome for the candidate to wear the headgear.

c) Use Cases

School and university examinations, employment tests, Certification tests, internal employee tests (as a part of Learning & Development initiatives)

d) Providers

Software Secure, Proctor360


Different institutes and companies use different solutions to conduct examinations – some institutes and organizations use their in-house technologies while most of them use assessment/examination features of Learning Management Systems (LMS). Increasingly universities are adopting standalone examination technologies for thwarting online test cheating and improving the quality of examinations with options of multiple question types and simulators.

For any institute, upholding academic integrity is of utmost importance. Your degree is worth the trust people place in it. To build and maintain the credibility of the tests that you conduct, it’s extremely important to prevent cheating in online exams at any cost. There are plenty of options to choose from- select the array of proctoring solutions that meet your requirement and budget and conduct high integrity exams without any hassle!

Mercer | Mettl’s State-of-The-Art Software Cheat Proof Online Exam



Budget-Friendly Proctoring

Monitor any suspicious activity with our wide range of online proctoring services that meet your scale and budget.

Conduct High-Stakes Assessments

Our RP services cater to a broad spectrum of examinations ranging from pre-employment assessments to entrances and mid-semester examinations. 

Best AI-Based Proctoring

With our state of the art AI, you can remove logical hassle and get 95% accuracy in preventing cheating by detecting upto 18 dynamic digressions.

ProctorPLUS is Mercer | Mettl’s cutting-edge tool that is driven by artificial intelligence to provide a holistic solution to ensure the integrity of your assessments in a cost-effective and scalable manner. It is pre-integrated with Mercer | Mettl’s examination platform and can also be easily integrated into any human resource management system (HRMS). The unique feature of Mercer | Mettl’s ProctoringPLUS is that it is customizable to your requirements to ensure flexibility in terms of cost, features, and stakes.

Frequently Asked Questions Around Online Exam Cheating Prevention

Here are some answers to Frequently Asked Questions around how to reduce cheating in online exams, how to prevent online quiz cheating and how to cheat proof online testing:

Can online tests detect cheating? 

How can i test online without students cheating?

How to stop online cheating? 

How can we prevent cheating in online exams?

How does lockdown browser detect cheating?

Originally published January 4 2019, Updated November 26 2021

Romila Kanchan

Written by

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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