A Test-taker’s Guide to Online Proctoring


2020 has forced universities, corporations, and licensing organizations to change the way they educate and evaluate, as on-ground testing shifted online. Although this virtual approach might be new to you, online proctoring has been around for years and has proven time and again to be a safe and effective way to test remotely. 


Types of Online Proctoring
We know that there is a lot of new information to learn. Will there be someone watching me take the test live? Will I be recorded? Online proctoring can feel unfamiliar, which is why it is important to understand how it works. 

There are two main types of online proctoring: live and automated. Both types of proctoring utilize a flagging system to monitor activities, potential violations and technical issues that occur during a proctoring session. For example, green flags are used when there is no violation (i.e. your cat walking in), while red flags are used when a test-taker exhibits clear cheating behavior. All exam sessions and applicable flags are recorded, then shared with the university or testing organization. To learn more about Examity’s flagging system, check out A Colorful Review of Examity’s Flags.

Let’s take a deeper look at the differences between live and automated proctoring. 


Live Solutions
Simply put, our live proctoring solutions involve interactions between the test-taker and a live proctor. In Examity’s Live Authentication + Audit offering, the proctor may just be part of the authentication process, dropping off the screen after the test-taker has confirmed their identity. The recording, rather than the live session, will be reviewed and flagged in this case. In our Live Proctoring product, proctors are present throughout the entire session, allowing them to intervene in real time if a violation is suspected or technical support is needed.   


Automated Solutions
Our automated proctoring solutions utilize technology to monitor the exam, rather than a live person. Software captures audio, motion, and systemic changes during the testing session, identifying aberrant or abnormal behaviors. 

Exam Violations
It’s important to note that in both modalities, just because something is flagged doesn’t mean it is automatically considered an exam violation. Reporting data from the proctoring session, including flags, is always provided to the test administrator, who will review the data to determine if an exam rule was broken. For example, with so many test-takers completing exams in their homes, a common flag scenario is that of a small child walking into a room where an exam is being taken. Technically, a rule has been broken because another person was in the room. However, the young child clearly didn’t provide any information that would constitute cheating. Here a yellow flag (“potential violation”) would be noted, and then reported to the test administrator for a final review. In other words, violations are always determined by the administrator, not the proctoring solution. 


Privacy & Security
We understand that you may have concerns regarding privacy, but you can rest assured that online proctoring is safe and secure. Examity captures only the minimum amount of data needed and holds onto that data for the shortest time possible. We also comply with global  privacy regulations and laws. Please visit our Privacy and Security page to learn about how our security practices protect your privacy. 


Getting Started
Even though online proctoring may be a new experience, it’s easy to get started. The first step is to create your profile, which you can learn about by reading our blog, Creating Your Profile in Four Easy Steps. Also, take a moment to make sure you are fully prepared so that you can rest easy on exam day. For a list of helpful steps, please read our 5 Tips for Online Test-Taking Success

It’s important to remember that while online proctoring may be new to you, it’s not new to us. Examity has been servicing test-takers and test administrators since 2013, making us uniquely qualified to provide you with the guidance and support that you need to make a smooth transition to online proctoring.