Best Practices for Taking Online Exams (Students)

Task: This article describes the best practices for students taking exams, including tips for before, during, and after the exam.


Taking exams online can cause anxiety, especially when you are new to online learning. The major pitfall for many students when taking exams online is not understanding the guidance of online exam-taking procedures.  To be successful with online exams, be sure to follow best practices:

Before the Exam:

  • Don't wait until the last minute to start your exam – especially when it is timed or has a limited availability. You may run into technical problems or problems understanding the instructions of the exam. Leave yourself at least 12 hours before the deadline in case of any issues. 
  • Don't start any software updates or have too many windows open in your browser. For example you can tell windows when to run windows updates, or postpone them altogether during testing periods. 
  • Do check with your instructor to make sure you are in the right time zone. UNH courses are created with a default setting of Eastern Time Zone. Make sure you verify with your instructor so you won't miss the exam.
  • Make sure you have a reliable Internet connection. Contact your instructor if that is an issue for you.
  • Find a quiet spot with minimal distractions. Turn off your cell phone and email notifications, and let your family or roommates know that you will be taking an exam.
  • Study in advance and be prepared for the exam. 
  • Understand the exam/quiz platform and how it operates. Take a practice exam if it is available in your course. This serves two purposes: it helps you with a better understanding of online exams, and it helps you to verify that your computer/browser is supported for by the testing application (for example, quizzes in myCourses)

During the Exam:

  • Don't stay on one question for too long.
  • Don't panic if something goes wrong. Take a screenshot and contact your instructor right away. 
  • Keep track of your time.
  • Make sure you answer all the questions before you submit the exam. 

After the Exam:

  • Don't share the questions and answers with your peers. It is a breach of academic integrity and you may face disciplinary action if caught.
  • Check your grades and think about how you can improve for the next exam.  


Users should be able to confidently approach and take online exams.

Further reading:

Helpful Tips for Students to Learn Online


Need additional help?

Please use this link to the Technology Help Desk to locate your local campus contact information.  


Article ID: 2225
Mon 4/6/20 2:40 PM
Wed 2/7/24 8:58 AM
Applicable Institution(s):
Keene State College (KSC)
Plymouth State University (PSU)
University of New Hampshire (UNH)