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Creating a stress-free environment during online proctored exams

Talent Assessment | 6 Min Read

Creating a stress-free environment during online proctored exams


The coronavirus pandemic became a paradigm-altering scenario for most education businesses. They shifted from the traditional offline model to a new online learning model. As a result, the industry experienced challenges in conducting exams fairly, which was resolved via remote AI-based proctoring.

However, while online exams offered secure exam content, easy grading, and streamlined results management, they increased participants’ stress of being proctored. Many candidates taking online tests on a proctored platform felt uncomfortable with the technology that records their behavior and assesses their authenticity.


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What is online proctoring?

Online proctoring is a method of assessing and monitoring exams online. It involves using relevant software and services that monitor candidates; this monitoring aims to secure academic integrity and prevent cheating.

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The remote proctoring solution help with video monitoring, browser locking, audio monitoring with voice detection, candidate ID verification, and exam reporting. Video monitoring ensures that applicants are not accessing any unauthorized materials during the exam. Browser locking prevents applicants from accessing other applications or websites. Audio monitoring and voice detection help detect any suspicious sounds or behavior. Candidate ID verification confirms the identity of the applicant. Exam reporting provides a detailed record of the exam session, including any suspicious activity detected by the proctoring software.

These features work together to create a secure and reliable testing environment for online exams.


Why do candidates feel stressed during online proctored exams

Examinations are a primary method for assessment in most educational institutions. Therefore, many students experience exam anxiety causing them physiological and emotional discomfort.

Though online exams are convenient compared to offline exams, they may increase participant stress because online proctoring involves AI-based monitoring. Participants may feel apprehensive about the exam guidelines and experience fear of wrongly being accused of cheating or false methods.

Here are some of the challenges faced by candidates during online proctored exams:

  1. Remote proctoring technology raises red flags for behaviors and cheating based on predefined parameters. However, this might lead to candidates worrying about being falsely accused of cheating.
  2. Aspirants may find recording during online exams intrusive. Being filmed in their private space, under strict supervision, can lead to stress. Proctors may ask them to change their surroundings for better visibility, which may cause nervousness about completing the exam without challenges.
  3. Candidates might be apprehensive about sharing their personal information (name, phone number, email id, and so on) during the test.
  4. Candidates require a peaceful, solitary, and well-illuminated room to complete their online exams. Some don’t have a personal computer and opt to use the ones provided by their institute in a shared setup. Others face difficulties finding a quiet space due to bustling living arrangements.
  5. Sometimes, candidates with little software proficiency need help setting up online proctoring software. If the software setup is complicated, it can negatively impact their performance and cause frustration right before the exam.


How to make proctored tests stress-free for candidates

Clear communication should be established via rules and guidelines to ensure a smooth experience. For example, reminding candidates to check the camera, microphone settings, and exam duration in advance. Discussing the exam format helps applicants prepare well. Further, candidates should be assured that following test guidelines, setting up their exam environment, and taking the exam as intended will eliminate any challenges at the last minute. If any candidate is incorrectly flagged, human proctors will later review the recording and recognize false positives.

Reliable proctoring technology like Mercer | Mettl’s SecureProctor ensures a seamless integration. The AI-enabled platform offers an intuitive interface to help understand rules and guidelines and proceed without confusion. Candidates can communicate with a human proctor during the exam to clear doubts, and the admin can send alerts without disturbing the candidate.

Most proctoring solutions require candidates to use their computer systems or mobile phones to take online exams. Using appropriate technology requiring minimum configuration and an internet connection can help ensure active participation. Further, the solution should regularly save the candidates’ progress to help them return to the same state after losing connection.

Ensuring the collected data's safety, security, and encryption will instill confidence in candidates. Educate test takers before the exam about how the exam is recorded, how long these files are retained, and how personal data is stored and used. For example, if no suspicions are raised, the recording is deleted from the server within 60 days.

Participants should be educated that proctoring services only supervise them during the exam and that the permissions granted are only valid for the test duration. After the exam, the proctoring system can’t track their activities.

An online proctoring solution with optimum customer support is necessary to answer candidates’ queries. When students are taking the test, offering on-spot in-chat support through a human proctor helps resolve challenges instantly. Further, 24/7 support available for candidates and exam administrators via phone or chat helps clear any confusion that might cause stress during the exam.

According to Daphnee St. Val, Senior Instructional Designer at Broward College, “Having access to customer support 24X7/365 is huge. Especially during times like this when students may be taking exams at any time of day. You want them to have access to someone who can troubleshoot with them.

Creating a fully-functional mock environment to practice tests can reduce stress in candidates. Allowing students to practice and understand the actual exam workflow can increase their confidence during actual exams.


How Mercer | Mettl can help

Mercer | Mettl’s remote proctoring solutions, SecureProctor and Platform + Proctoring, utilize artificial intelligence to create a reliable and secure examination medium. They involve:

  • Student authentication with multi-factor technology to prevent impersonation.
  • Proctoring technology, including live proctoring, auto proctoring, and record and review proctoring, using a combination of human and AI-based methods.
  • A secure exam browser that cleanses students’ computers by disabling extra tabs, browsers, and external ports.

Mercer | Mettl helps conduct virtual semester exams using 26+ types of questions and QR code-based technology. It manages large-scale entrance exams using a scalable examination platform and innovative proctoring technology. The online examination portal comes with Mercer | Mettl’s cutting-edge proctoring technology and a pre-installed digital evaluation system.

It guarantees:

  • 100% cheating-free exams
  • End-to-end exam management
  • A wide range of exam options
  • Support for subjective questions
  • Uncompromising security features
  • Unmatched scalability



Online proctored exams are necessary in the digital-first world to create a secure and dependable way for candidate learning. However, many candidates experience stress during proctored exams. Clear communication regarding data usage policies, a guarantee of secure information storage, and technical support can help reduce nervousness around online exams.


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What are the advantages of online proctored exams?

How are students supposed to prepare for an online proctored exam?

Originally published February 28 2023, Updated February 28 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

Aptitude tests, also known as cognitive tests, are assessments to measure the cognitive acumen of a person. Aptitude tests measure skills such as abstract reasoning, visual reasoning, logical reasoning, problem-solving, decision-making, numerical ability, verbal ability, etc.

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