Online Exams

Below are some useful tips for you to help prepare for exam season online. To access the full PDF document on Online Exams click here. 


Find out the when, where and how for your exams, keep a note of how you will be assessed, on what date and within what timeframe.

Make sure you’ve read any exam advice or study guidance your lecturers have given

Put the dates and times into your online calendar and your phone, with reminders before they start.

Plan out your revision and preparation.

Try to do practice examples of the kinds of questions you will be asked.

Make a list of all the topics important for your exam and cross them off once you have revised them.

Space out your revision of topics and don’t rely purely on last minute cramming.


Preparing Your Space

Identify in advance the space in which you are going to take your assessment.

Ideally it is somewhere that is quiet and private, and tidied and prepared with a clear desk.

Let your flatmates or family members know when your exam is scheduled and try to get them to minimise any risk of noise or disruption.

Put your phone on silent, or turn it off.


Consider Technology

Make sure your laptop or other device that you are using is fully charged/plugged in, connected to the network, and is working OK.

Test out your internet speed in advance to allow time to raise any queries with your course coordinator/lecturer.

Find out what they recommend you do if there is a problem with your connection during the scheduled exam.

(There should be a ‘Plan B’, so make sure you know what it is and don’t panic if something happens on the day).

Make sure you know whether in the exam you are allowed to use other resources (e.g. Open Book Exam or access to the internet) or whether you are to only engage with the test itself on your browser.



Check your module handbook for relevant information that you might have missed at the start of the Semester. (This information is probably also posted on the module pages, or announcements, in Blackboard)

If you come across any problems regarding your assessment, get in touch with your course coordinator/lecturer.

If you are registered with Disability Support Services, double-check to ensure how accommodations (such as extra time) will be applied.


Look After Yourself

Try to minimise stress this exam season. Take regular breaks leading up to your exams and leave time to do the things you enjoy.

Prepare your space the night before.

Don’t hide away! – Keep in touch with friends and family. It is vital to keep contact with people during the exam weeks. It can help keep things in perspective as well as motivate you.

Most people hate exams and feel anxious about them. Try to channel that nervous energy into revision and practice and that will mean you won’t have to worry in the end.

Don’t let it overwhelm you. Seek help if it is getting too much.

If one exam doesn’t go as well as you hoped, try not to dwell on it. Just move on. You might have done better than you think!


Exam Types

Know what the format of each of your exams is going to be and try to practice those kinds of questions/tests.


Hand Written Exams

If you are doing an exam in which you have to handwrite your answers and then scan and upload them, try it out a few times well in advance.

There will be time given for you to do this after the scheduled exam time. Don’t try and use this time as an extension, because it takes a while to do the scanning/uploading properly).


MCQs (Multiple Choice)

MCQs and similar types of tests are very common in online exams. Find out if you can, how the questions are going to be presented so that you don’t have any surprises on the day.

(one at a time, all in one go, will you be able to go back and change answers or not?)


Essays/typed responses

Find out how many questions you have to answer and whether there is choice.

Do you have to download an exam paper or use a template?

Do you have to upload a Word file, or a PDF, or type your answer into a text box?


Oral/Aural exams

Common in languages, but also some other subjects. For these you need to make sure that you have the technology you need

(microphone, speakers/headset, camera).


If materials are allowed for the exam, have them to hand before the exam begins.

In addition to the standard assignment types, listed in the section above, you might also be asked to do an exam using pen and paper and then to scan and upload your work.  This is quite common in subjects that use mathematics, derivations, and diagrams.  Exactly how you do it might depend on what phone (or other scanning device) you have, but the basic approach is the same, regardless of what app or hardware you have.

The videos below provide instructions on how to scan and upload handwritten documents using the MS Lens app as an example (other apps that you have, and which do the same thing can easily be used).

Remember to make the scans as legible as possible and to make sure that multiple pages are bundled into a single final (pdf) form, rather than just lots of snapshots.