16 Ideas for a learners’ guide to ace online exams

Check whether the submission has been processed before you close the page. Picture: Pexels/Kampus Production

Check whether the submission has been processed before you close the page. Picture: Pexels/Kampus Production

Published Nov 2, 2022


For some learners, writing an online exam is a new and somewhat confusing experience. They don’t know what to expect, and aren’t certain of the skills and strategies that will enable them to perform at their best. Online exams are the future for a number of learners. And as unpleasant as taking an exam can be, it actually does more than just show your teacher what you know: it helps you learn.

Here are 16 tips to help you ace the online exams

1. Check whether you need to download software for the test.

2. Be on time. If you’re not on time, you may not be able to access the exam.

3. Prepare your device. Exams are timed, so any power interruption, poor web connection or problem with a programme will probably cost you the exam. Test your links beforehand.

4. Balance yourself. Take a deep breath and wait for the page to download fully. You don’t need to write a paper that’s not complete because some questions are missing.

5. Read the instructions first. If you don’t understand something, ask your instructor. If you can find a practice exam, test yourself first.

6. Have materials on hand. If you need to have books, notepads, pens or pencils, make sure they’re within easy reach.

7. Don’t rely on access to books and notes. Due to the time allocation, you can’t afford to be hastily looking up answers to questions.

8. Don’t even try to collaborate or use cheat sheets. Software for online testing can switch up the test questions so they are in random order, even if you’re taking the same exam.

9. Copy and Paste is acceptable if you’re using a programme you’re not fast in.

10. Don’t panic. If you blank out on a question, move ahead. You can come back to it later.

11. Work smart. If you have multiple choice questions, and you don’t know the answer, work back from the least likely or eliminate those that seem out of place.

12. Make a back-up plan for technical problems. Try to have an alternative way of emailing, texting or phoning your teacher. Advise them of your situation and take a screenshot. Some things are beyond your control.

13. Set an alarm. Alert yourself about 15 minutes before the end of the test, check your answers and don’t rush the submission process.

14. Don’t forget to submit at the end of the exam. Also, check the submission has been processed before you close the page.

15. Ask for feedback. You will be notified of your results. But learning how you could improve should be the whole point of exam taking. Request a copy of the exam questions, as well as your answers.

16. Reward yourself afterwards. You worked hard, treat yourself in a way that makes you feel good and build up your strength for the next challenge.

Read IOL’s Maths Lit Paper 1 & 2 revision below: