When done right, offering online testing for exams can reduce student stress and create a more equitable learning environment.

3 ways to reduce online testing anxiety

When done right, offering online proctored exams can reduce student stress and create a more equitable learning environment

The continuation of online higher education and remote college course learning, teaching, and testing has been a game-changer for institutions, instructors, and students. Not being physically in the classroom has opened the door to flexible learning models and greater accommodations for all types of students.

But, for some, it has also changed when and how stress occurs. Many students experience test anxiety, both for in-class testing and remote testing. But proctored online testing can surface new stressors that students haven’t experienced before.  

Taking tests online instead of in-person should not change or add to the stress or anxiety of test-taking. But any time a new process is introduced or there are changes to how a test is deployed or monitored, these actions can understandably trigger stress, anxiety, questions, and concerns.

To head this off, it’s important that institutions and instructors equip students with information related to remote testing, proctor interactions, and how the technology works–well before any exam. Similarly, proctors must be properly trained to identify and practice ways to help students feel confident and comfortable.  

With the right foundation in place, online exams can be something that students look forward to, rather than dread. Here are three ways to help create a test environment that reduces stress and anxiety and empowers students to be their very best during online exams.

1. Give students confidence in the process

Test anxiety before a proctored exam is often tied to uncertainties in the process. Until their first proctored test experience, students simply don’t know what to expect. They have lots of questions. How does the technology work? What behavior causes a test to be flagged? Can I go to the bathroom if I need to? Will I get kicked out of a test and need to start over?

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