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How to Crush That Online Test

This post is from a student, parent, or professional contributor. The opinions expressed by the author are their own and do not necessarily reflect the positions, viewpoints, or policies of Niche.

By now you may feel a bit settled into online and remote learning, though it will never feel truly comparable to the in-class experience. Digital note taking, Zoom-ing and virtual lectures may feel a bit routine by now but taking high-stakes exams like midterms and finals in a digital environment is something many students are facing for the first time. We’re here to help.

We asked education experts across the country for their best advice when it comes to digital test taking. Here’s what they had to say!

Practice Makes Perfect

Like most things in life, having previous exposure and experience to a digital exam can make the actual exam much less stressful. Lisa Speransky, Founder and Director of Programs at Ivy Tutors Network, suggests that if at all possible, students should practice taking the test online first — especially when it comes to standardized tests — because the experience is very different from a paper-based test. So, check online to see if your exam offers practice exams. You’ll be glad you did!

Limit Your Distractions

When you’re learning or taking an exam at home, it can be quite distracting. Parents, siblings, pets, television — it can be overwhelming to find a quiet and calm space, but it’s essential.

John Ross, President & CEO of Test Prep Insight, explains, “The last thing you want during an important exam is for the dog to be barking, or roommates talking, or just feel uncomfortable in the middle of your home. Find a bedroom or study in a quiet space where you can get set up comfortably. Then tell roommates or family to please keep quiet for a bit while you take the exam.”

Become Familiar with the Format

Is it multiple choice, short answer, essay, or a combination of both? How many questions? How much time do you have or should you set aside? All of these questions need answering prior to the actual testing session.

Sarah Miller, teacher and blogger at Homeschooling 4 Him, recommends that in addition to studying the material on the test, inquire about the test structure so you feel prepared.

She says, “How will the test be structured? Will it be timed? Will you be able to go back and edit your answers after you enter them? Knowing the answers to these questions will help you be able to make a strategy for how you will complete the test.”

Check Your Tech

The last thing you want or need on exam day is malfunctioning technology that can lead to difficulties and delays (and stress!).

That’s why Arash Fayz, Executive Director of LA Tutors 123, recommends checking out the test platform about a week prior to the exam date.

He explains, “Many online testing platforms have a trial site to test out your tech (webcam, microphone, etc.) prior to test day. It’s important to test this out well before your actual test day in case there are large items to remedy, such as installing/uninstalling software or upgrading your tech accessories. It’s also a good idea to do a trial run to get acquainted with the online testing platform—instead of using the actual test to figure out what certain buttons do and which functions are possible, use the trial run as a chance to familiarize yourself with the platform.”

With a bit of preparation, you can confidently conquer your upcoming exams. 

Author: Erin Nicole Celletti

Erin Celletti is a freelance journalist and the Director of Communications at Integration Charter Schools. With seven years of classroom teaching and leadership experience, Erin has a BA in Journalism from Quinnipiac University, as well as a M.S.Ed. in Childhood and Special Education from St. John's University, and a M.S.Ed. in School and Building Leadership from Wagner College. Erin lives in Hoboken, NJ with her husband, and baby girl on the way. Her work has also appeared in BRIDES, Teen Vogue, Allure, and TODAY Parents.