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How to Prepare Test Takers for Online Proctoring

April 1, 2021

iStock-513117356Certification is a competitive market, and the test taker experience has always been vital. Now, with the widescale adoption of remote testing and online proctoring over the past year, there is an even greater need for organizations to differentiate themselves by delivering an outstanding online proctoring experience for their test takers before, during, and after test day.

In 2020, PSI delivered 240% more online proctored exams than in 2019. Before 2020, only 10-15% of our clients' test takers opted for online proctoring over in-person testing, a proportion that has increased to more than 70% since the pandemic. And even though test centers might be open again, with onsite proctoring now possible, we are not seeing a decrease in online proctoring numbers to pre-pandemic levels.

Despite the increased availability of in-person testing, online proctoring remains more popular as an option, and preparing test takers for the online proctoring experience is still just as important. We have put together a guide, How to Prepare Test Takers for Online Proctoring, to support organizations to deliver a high-quality proctoring experience at every stage of the process.

Unprecedented scale

It’s important to be prepared. But it’s hard for organizations, particularly those coming to online proctoring for the first time, to comprehend the effect this shift will have on the volume of incoming questions, calls and emails. Fortunately, when it comes to analyzing and understanding the impact on test taker experience, we have a wealth of data from the recent rapid adoption of online proctoring in response to Covid-19.

Drawing on this data, our guide identifies and explores the most common complications that test takers experience with online proctoring, as well as the steps we can take to address them. Many of these issues are out of an organization’s control. However, with improved communications and clear instructions that fully prepare test takers, most concerns can be overcome.

Understanding the kind of issues that might arise means you will be better placed to develop a strategy and plan to prevent them. From candidates not coming prepared with the required identity documents or trying to take exams with unstable internet connectivity, to out of date operating systems and unsupported devices.

Be prepared

A huge amount of groundwork can be done before test day to prevent many of the issues experienced by test takers. And, providing clear communication and instructions has the dual benefit of preventing potential issues and reducing test taker anxiety.

Our guide takes you through the wide range of useful online resources that can be made available to your test takers for a smoother experience on test day, including a candidate experience video that prepares them for the online proctoring experience and a System Compatibility Check that confirms before test day that the device and internet they plan to use is compatible with PSI technology.

All of these tools (and more) are already available. Many are easy to adapt or create to meet the specific needs of your organization and testing program. There’s a whole section of the guide dedicated to what and how you should communicate with your test takers, from website resources and emails, to the importance of a scheduling page and candidate handbook with clear rules and guidelines.

Related: What to Expect from the Credentialing Market in 2021

Streamlined process

Prevention is better than a cure, and test day will be a lot less stressful for everyone if you follow the advice in our guide to circumvent any issues that might arise. However, as with anything in life, there is only so much you can do, and some issues may still occur on the day. If your test takers know in advance what they should do in the event of any problems, the process will be more streamlined.

The PSI Bridge platform, for example, supports test taker communication throughout the online proctoring experience, from check-in and exam launch, through any issues they might experience with internet connection during their test. Our guide outlines the journey in more detail, including test taker communication with an online proctor and technical support at every stage of the process.

There’s also a handy list of the technical requirements for online proctoring with PSI Bridge. This details the operating systems, screen resolution, bandwidth and other important specifications that will ensure a test taker’s system meets the technical requirements for their online proctored exam in preparation for test day.

Are you prepared?

Our extensive experience tells us that by providing clear and regular information in the lead up to test day you will be able to minimize issues and allay test anxiety. What’s more, we know that with a plan in place it is possible to efficiently deal with any problems that may arise on the day.

If you’re not sure where to start, there’s a list in the back of the guide to check how prepared you are for online proctoring. It’s a great starting point – to identify any gaps in your preparations for online proctoring, draw up a plan to address them, and deliver an outstanding test taker experience.

Download our eBook to find out how to prepare test takers for online proctoring

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Heather Richards Heather Richards is the Vice President of Client Success at PSI Services. Her expertise lies in certification in industries including IT, Healthcare, Finance, Professional Services, and Education.