Online Proctored Exam vs In A Testing Center

Last Updated on April 9, 2024.

Many students get excited when they hear about the option of taking an exam in an online format.

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Often, however, their excitement comes to an end when they start realizing that taking an exam in an online format means their online exam will be a proctored exam.

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Online Proctored Testing-How Does it Work?

During an Online Proctored Exam, candidates will be monitored during the entire test by a proctor, usually through a webcam, mic, and screen access to the candidate’s computer.

Students will have to install software that will monitor suspicious activities using audio analytics and advanced video.

This ensures that candidates focus on their test screen while taking the exam, that there’s enough light in the test room, and the software also checks for suspicious objects in background voice activity and video so the exam can be red-flagged if needed.

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Online testing has its advantages, but there are also some negative aspects associated with it. This page balances it all.

So if you’re looking to take an exam online and not bother with traveling to and from a testing center, you’ll have to learn about the rules so you can appreciate the benefits and convenience of taking an exam in an online proctored format.

Online Proctored GED Testing also involves face recognition for student authentication. These are just a few of the features of the software that’s used in Online Proctored Testing.

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So now, let’s take a closer look at some of the pros and cons of taking exams online.

Some Pros of Online Proctored Testing

Accessibility – For test-takers, convenience and accessibility are the most important benefits. Thanks to Online Proctored (OP) test delivery, students can take an exam at home or at the office, which will save the test-takers considerably in time and expenses. Most probably, this is the biggest advantage of taking an exam online: candidates are not required to travel to and from a testing center.

Flexibility – Another key benefit of online testing is flexibility. Students don’t have to register for the exam far in advance. Often, they can schedule their test for the same day they’re free to sit for the exam if a proctor is available. To learn how to log in to your account and what to do if you have forgotten your password, check out the linked page.

When taking the GED exam, for example, test-takers don’t have to plan and register for one of the four GED subtests weeks in advance. They can schedule their exam for the very same day or, if needed, reschedule their exams up to 30 minutes prior to the set testing appointment. Especially for candidates with pretty busy schedules, this is particularly helpful.

Some Cons of Online Proctored Testing

Technical Requirements – Test-takers looking to sit for an exam in an online proctored format must be sure their Internet connection is secure and stable. They could not be able to take their exam online if there were bandwidth or technical issues.

Note-taking – Unlike candidates who sit for an exam at a test center, online test-takers are not permitted to take notes. There’s an online notepad, but taking notes other than there is not allowed. This may well be a drawback for candidates who find it a lot easier to work out solutions to problems if they can sketch it out on a physical scratchpad rather than doing so on-screen or visualizing it all in their heads. Check here to learn more about how to use a whiteboard on the GED online test.

Restrictions – When it comes to freedom of movement or stretching, online proctored exams are far more restrictive. To make sure online exams are done correctly, students are usually not allowed to leave the immediate vicinity of their computers, regardless of the location. If these restrictions cause any discomfort for students, they may be far better off if they’ll sit for their exams at a physical testing center.

Is Cheating Possible with Online Proctored Testing?

One of the most popular search terms in relation to taking exams in an online proctored format is “How can I cheat on my online proctored exam.” So let’s take a closer look at possible answers to this question.

Cheating on online proctored exams isn’t easy at all. First, the proctor will online verify the candidate’s identity and ensure that the online test-taker is indeed the identical person who registered for the test.

And throughout the online test, state-of-the-art, highly sophisticated webcam technology will allow both the online proctor and the technology system to monitor and observe not just the test-taker and the test room but register suspicious sounds and movements as well.

A test-taker is required to provide proof of his or her identity, such as a driver’s license or passport. This prevents impersonation. The online proctor will take a few minutes to check this, and then the test-taker must use the camera to physically show the entire testing room so the proctor will be able to examine the testing room for any possible incorrect circumstances or sources of information.

The testing room must be clean. Notepads, books, phones, notes on the wall, other devices, pens, papers, a second computer monitor, and other items are not permitted to be in the test environment. The test-taker is required to remain in the test room during the entire exam, and the testing system is set up in such a way that it will shut down the very moment the test-taker leaves the testing area.

The online proctor will also demand the candidate to provide a close-up of his or her arms, ears, and pockets to make sure there aren’t any answers scribbled on hand palms or arms, perhaps a minuscule earpiece stuck inside an ear, or that any cheat sheets are tucked away in the candidate’s pockets,

Online Proctored GED Testing employs a secure browser that is only used for the online proctored exam. This will guarantee that only the test delivery system runs on your computer when you take the exam.

All other programs on your computer will have to be shut down. In case you should try to open any other application, the test process system will automatically shut down.

Additionally, functions like print, copy & paste, and all other functions are disabled, as will keyboard shortcuts and all of your function keys.

And keep in mind that the online proctored testing system will detect any unusual behavior, such as when your eyes often dart away from the computer screen, and issue alerts in many other cases.

But as always, despite tools and technological developments to detect and prevent cheating, those who are inclined to cheat are sure to keep trying. The knowledge, however, that you are being watched for the full duration of the exam is itself already a very strong deterrent, wouldn’t you agree?

If the proctor or the software notices simply too many signs or red flags, your exam will be suspended, and your testing session will be canceled.

Is Online Testing Getting More Popular than at Test Centers?

Well, though online proctored test delivery has become a convenient and accessible method of testing and is available in most states that use the GED test, there are still huge numbers of students who still have to get used to this way of taking exams.

For taking exams in an online proctored format, the availability of broadband Internet is key, and inadequate bandwidth and unstable Internet connections are significant hurdles that prevent many students from taking tests online.

Additionally, test-takers are required to meet specific and strict online testing requirements when it comes to their computer systems, webcams, microphones, testing protocols, and their testing room environment. Not all students who are looking to take tests in an online proctored format may be in the position to meet these strict requirements.

Today, despite the obvious convenience and accessibility of taking exams online, taking exams at a test center is still the most popular and most used way to take exams.

It used to be that the online GED test was more expensive ($6 per subtest) than writing the test at a test center, but that difference has disappeared. The price is now the same whether you take the exam online or at a test center.

Please note that the Online Proctored GED Exam is NOT available in the following states: West Virginia, Hawaii, New York, Massachusetts, Florida, and Wyoming. In Iowa, Maine, and Tennessee., the GED exam is NOT available. These states use the HiSET exam for high school equivalency testing.