Exams are definitely not the favourite part of school for most students. The anxiety, pressure, pessimism and apprehensive attitude of students during this period of the academic calendar is a story to be told another day.
As opposed to the traditional face-to-face mode of examination, most students make the assumption that online exams would be easygoing because reference can be made to text books and notes. This is a wild assumption as online exams can hit students with a snafu.
Studying in advance, understanding the guidelines and parameters of the test and good organisation are tips for a successful online exams though not restricted to these only. Generally, the strategy for writing online exams is the same as traditional face-to-face exams but these are additional tips to help you succeed in your online exams.
Study in advance
Mastering the course material ahead of the paper will provide you the opportunity to organise your notes and what you think you need to know in your mind, thus making it easily accessible to recall answers to questions during tests. The common mistake students make is to assume that online exams is easy because they can look through their books for answers; this cuts down the time you have to take exams. Remember to create and keep a clear goal or target for each course and stick to it. Always prepare ahead!
Check your electronic device
Always ensure that the electronic device (laptop, phone, tablets etc) you are using/will use is not faulty. There is nothing as discouraging as finding out your devices is not working when you are about to begin an exam. Make sure your data connection or WiFi connection is available and secured. Checking this earlier will afford you the time to fix your device and other possible technical problems.
Find a quiet environment
The last thing one needs is distraction when writing an exam. Find a serene environment in your home, put your phone on “airplane/ flight mode” turn off social media notifications and TV. Let your family know you have an exam, so they do not interrupt your work; younger siblings can be a nuisance during this period.
Informing your parents ahead of time would make them put your siblings in check. Make sure you have a place you would feel comfortable studying: it must be a spot with reliable internet access. You can also go to the community library, church or any safe place you can take your exam without interruption. Anytime you feel distracted you can download “Forest” or any other focus app. This ensures effectiveness in your studies. Having friends around can even be a distraction!
Understand guidelines and parameters of the exam
You always need to understand the requirements of the paper you are writing and be guided by it. Check the date to begin and deadline, check the time for exam commencement and check the time allocated for the paper. Know the parameters! Can you log in and log out again? Can you go back to a previous test question?
Lastly, ask your lecturer for additional information and recommendations in preparing for the test. Note that, in preparing for online exams, it is essential to find out or ask questions on the format, nature and duration. DO NOT ASSUME YOU KNOW.
Keep track of time
Know the time limit for the test. Set an alarm to alert you 15minutes before time, so you know the number of questions you have answered and remaining ones to answer. This helps you keep track of your working speed. Do not stay too long on a question, move on and go to it later.
Check and recheck
Note that if the online exams is adhoc or on spot, it would be advisable to keep “SAVING & CONTINUING”. This will secure your earlier done sections in case your network or machine fails you. The network can fail you at anytime, try to submit works to be submitted a day before the deadline. If it is allowed submit it ahead of the deadline. Always read through your work, edit before submission. Peruse for all grammatical errors, unanswered questions and punctuation. Remember to crosscheck submission prompts or messages, where possible save and print a hardcopy. Do not forget to reference a source where necessary.
According to UGCCC tips for effective online studying and preparation for exams, one should reference a source.
“To be successful in any academic life, your integrity is important. Therfore you should avoid plagiarism, acknowledge every source of information by stating them the right way. Avoid lifting other people’s work. Be independent, read extensively, gather more views and express them in your own words.”
Managing technical problems
There may be challenges encountered during exams, do not despair. Take screenshots and notify lecturers on the issue. Make sure to use the appropriate channels to address your concerns. You can send an email to the lecturer or department, also make use of the discussion forum on your e-learning platform. Be polite when making a formal complaint and also remember to use the university’s provided forms in filing a complaint.
Data could be expensive. If you can try and use a network that is less expensive but most effective. Explore data bundles that fit you. This would help minimise the data issues students often complain about.
Online exams are often unsupervised, this means the exams can be open book but be sure not to cheat. Only use the open book as reference and have most of the stuff in your brain.
Inspired by UG Careers and Counselling Center’s ‘Tips for effective online studying and preparation for exams.’
Written by: Nana Abena Grant | universnewsroom.com