Online exams – You may be at home, but you still need to prepare

It is now the summer term and that means that university students are nearing the summer holidays but also approaching the exam period.

While some universities may be reopening with the gradual easing of lockdown restrictions, there may be some other universities that are still closed and giving their students online exams to replace the paper exams that they were supposed to have.

You may already know your best approach towards doing online exams, but here are five tips for those of you who are doing it for the first time or want to re-familiarise yourself with it.

1. Practise doing past or mock online exams under timed conditions.

For those of you with timed online exams, it would be helpful if you start timing yourself now when doing past or mock exams so that you can write better and faster under the time limit of your actual exams in the future.

Even if your online exams do not have time limits, it is still worth practising under timed conditions as it trains you not to spend too much time on one section of the exam.

2. Read the instructions carefully.

While an online exam may sound daunting at first due to its different form, it is important to remember that it is still similar to a paper exam.

For example, just like how you have an instruction sheet in a paper exam, online exams also have this to specify how long the test is, how long you should spend on each question and what student details you need to write down.

However, your digital instruction sheets might give you extra instructions such as what to name your online exam, how to submit it on Blackboard and what font size to use.

Make sure to read these instructions as they are vital for your exam to be successfully accepted by your university system.

3. Have a light breakfast, lunch or dinner before starting the online exam.

Whether you plan to start your exam in the morning, afternoon or evening, you will most likely have a meal beforehand.

However, try to have a light meal before starting your exam because having a heavy meal will cause you to feel drowsy and make you spend a long time in the bathroom, and therefore lead to you losing precious time that you could have spent typing up your answers.

4. Sit in a comfortable, but not-too-comfortable place.

Although it is important to be comfortable when you are doing your online exam, you should try to avoid doing it on places of rest (like your bed or sofa) as it might trick your mind into thinking that you are relaxing, which leads to you feeling sleepy and having less time to finish the exam.

If possible, try to sit at a table in an area that is free from relaxation-related distractions.


You should definitely check your Wi-Fi a day before your online exam to ensure that you can access your online university system and the link to your exam.

If you are worried about losing Wi-Fi though, try to sit as close to your modem or connect an Ethernet cable to it to ensure that you have the best connection.

Hopefully, you now feel more prepared after reading these tips. Aside from that, good luck with your upcoming online exams.

Photo by Glenn Carstens-Peters on Unsplash

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