Online education has witnessed significant growth, leading to the rise of online proctoring as a secure and reliable method for conducting exams. While online proctored exams offer convenience and maintain academic integrity, exam cheating is persistent. Many students are constantly seeking new ways to cheat on online exams, challenging the trustworthiness of the assessment process. In this article, we will explore various methods of cheating that test takers employ during online proctored exams and provide valuable tips on preventing such incidents. By staying informed about these cheating techniques and implementing effective preventive measures, educators and institutions can safeguard the fairness and integrity of online assessments, ensuring accurate and honest evaluations of students.
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What Is a Proctored Exam and How Does It Work?
Online proctored exams are a reliable means of assessing students, preserving the fairness and accuracy of evaluations. Unlike in-person exams in traditional classrooms, proctored exams are conducted remotely, enabling test takers to complete assessments conveniently from anywhere. Proctoring involves monitoring and supervision to safeguard against cheating or academic misconduct during online exams.
How Proctored Exams Work
Proctored exams typically involve the following components and processes:
Scheduling the exam: Students are provided with specific dates and time slots during which they can take the exam. This helps create a structured exam environment and ensures all students are evaluated under similar conditions.
Proctoring methods: 1. Live proctoring: In live proctoring, a proctor or invigilator monitors the students in real time through video conferencing software. They observe the student’s behavior, the environment, and the exam process to deter and detect cheating.
Identity verification: Before the exam, students must verify their identity using various methods such as facial recognition, biometric authentication, or submitting a valid photo ID. This ensures that the person taking the exam is indeed a registered student.
Exam rules and guidelines: Students are provided with clear rules and guidelines regarding exam conduct, including the use of authorized resources, restrictions on communication, and the consequences of academic dishonesty. These guidelines emphasize the importance of academic integrity and fair evaluation.
Monitoring the exam: Throughout the exam, proctors or invigilators actively monitor the student’s activities. They may observe the students via video feeds, review screen recordings, or utilize AI-based software to detect suspicious behavior or signs of cheating.
Submission and evaluation: Once the exam is completed, students submit their responses electronically through the designated platform. The submitted exam papers are then evaluated by instructors or examiners following the institution’s grading criteria.
10 Clever Ways On How To Cheat On A Proctored Exam And How To Prevent Them
Discover the most common techniques students use to cheat on online proctored exams and effective strategies to stop them.
1: Screen Sharing with Another Device
Cheating in online proctored exams often involves screen sharing with another device. This method allows students to gain an unfair advantage by discreetly sharing their exam screen with a secondary device, such as a smartphone or tablet. By doing so, they can receive real-time answers or assistance while appearing to be solely focused on their main device. However, it’s important to note that engaging in such practices can result in severe consequences, including being caught cheating and facing disciplinary actions.
To prevent screen sharing during online proctored exams, there are several effective measures that educators and institutions can implement:
- Utilize proctoring software: Deploy reliable software with screen recording capabilities to detect unauthorized screen activity.
- Clear communication and expectations: Communicate the rules and expectations, explicitly stating that screen sharing is strictly prohibited.
- Multiple camera angles: Encourage students to position their webcams to capture their surroundings and monitor signs of screen sharing.
- Randomized question order: Randomize the order of questions for each student to minimize sharing specific question details.
- Enable lockdown browsers: Implement lockdown browsers to restrict access to additional applications and unauthorized websites.
- Artificial intelligence-based detection: Explore AI-powered technology to analyze behavior and flag suspicious actions during exams.
2: Using Hidden Earphones or Bluetooth Devices in an Online Proctored Exam
Students often resort to using hidden earphones or Bluetooth devices as a common method of cheating in online proctored exams. By wearing these covert devices, they can receive real-time assistance from external sources while creating the illusion of being solely focused on their computer screen. This deceptive practice grants them an unfair advantage during the exam. However, it is important to note that using such devices to cheat on an online proctored test violates academic integrity and can lead to serious consequences.
To prevent cheating with hidden earphones or Bluetooth devices during online exams, the following strategies can be implemented:
- Clear guidelines and policies: Communicate to students the strict prohibition of unauthorized electronic devices during exams and explain the consequences to discourage cheating attempts.
- Proctoring software with audio monitoring: Implement proctoring software equipped with audio monitoring capabilities to detect suspicious sounds or conversations that may indicate the use of hidden devices.
- Multiple camera views: Encourage students to position their webcams to provide a comprehensive view of their workspace, including their ears and surroundings. This enables proctors to monitor for any signs of hidden devices being used.
- Randomized seating arrangement: If exams are conducted in person, employ randomized seating patterns to minimize collaboration and sharing of hidden devices among students.
- Remote proctoring solutions: Explore remote proctoring solutions that use AI algorithms to analyze real-time video feeds. These algorithms can identify suspicious behaviors, such as frequent ear-touching or adjustments indicative of hidden devices.
- Student integrity agreements: Before the exam, have students sign integrity agreements explicitly stating their commitment to not use unauthorized devices or engage in cheating practices. This emphasizes the importance of academic honesty and serves as a deterrent.
3: Collaborating with Peers via Instant Messaging Apps in Online Exams
Students often cheat by collaborating with their peers through instant messaging apps during online proctored exams. Platforms like WhatsApp, Slack, or Discord facilitate real-time communication, enabling students to share answers, discuss questions, and assist one another. This method of cheating involves covert collaboration, making it challenging for proctors to detect and prevent such behavior during the exam. Addressing this issue and implementing measures to discourage and mitigate cheating in online exams is important.
To deter collaborative cheating via instant messaging apps during online proctored exams, educators and institutions can implement the following measures:
- Proctoring software with activity monitoring: Utilize proctoring software to monitor the activities on the students’ screens, including any opened applications or browser tabs. This can help detect instances where students may use instant messaging apps for collaboration.
- Communication guidelines and expectations: Clearly communicate expectations regarding exam conduct to students, emphasizing that any form of collaboration or communication with peers during the exam is strictly prohibited. Reinforce the consequences of engaging in such activities to discourage students from attempting to cheat.
- Randomized question sets: Employ randomized question sets for each student to minimize the possibility of sharing specific question details with others. This reduces the effectiveness of collaboration through instant messaging apps since the questions will differ for each student.
- Time-limited exams: Implement time limits to create a sense of urgency and discourage students from engaging in lengthy discussions or seeking external assistance. This encourages students to rely on their knowledge and skills during the limited timeframe.
- Active monitoring and intervention: Assign proctors or invigilators to actively monitor the online exam sessions and intervene promptly if they detect any suspicious behavior or communication that suggests collaboration. Their presence alone can deter students from attempting to cheat.
- Education on academic integrity: Educate students about the importance of academic integrity and the negative consequences of cheating. Foster a culture that values honesty and personal responsibility in academic pursuits.
4: Pre-Recorded Videos or Audio Clips to Cheat On Proctored Exams
Students often resort to cheating on proctored exams by utilizing pre-recorded videos or audio clips. This deceptive method involves students creating early recordings containing answers or relevant information. During the online exam, they play these recordings to obtain the desired responses, bypassing the need for genuine knowledge or understanding of the subject matter. Institutions must implement effective measures to prevent and discourage cheating during online tests.
To prevent the usage of pre-recorded videos or audio clips during online proctored exams, educators and institutions can implement the following precautions:
- Live audio and video monitoring: Employ proctoring software or invigilators who can actively monitor students’ audio and video feeds during the exam. This allows for real-time detection of any suspicious playback or unusual sounds that may indicate the use of pre-recorded materials.
- Randomized questions and variations: Design exams with randomized question sets and variations to minimize the effectiveness of pre-recorded materials. By presenting different questions or altering the order of questions for each student, the advantage gained from pre-recorded content is significantly reduced.
- Time constraints and complexity: Set time limits and design exam questions that require critical thinking, analysis, and application of knowledge. This approach makes it challenging for students to rely solely on pre-recorded materials as they would need to engage actively with the exam content in real time.
- Enhanced identity verification: Strengthen the identity verification process before the exam using facial recognition or biometric authentication techniques. This helps ensure that the student taking the exam is the same individual who is registered and minimizes the possibility of imposters using pre-recorded materials.
- Education on academic honesty: Foster a culture of academic honesty by educating students about the importance of integrity and the negative consequences of cheating. Promote an environment where students understand the value of their learning and the long-term benefits of genuine achievement.
5: Online Search Engines and Resources to Cheat On An Online Tests
Students often resort to cheating during proctored online exams using online search engines and resources. This method involves students discreetly accessing search engines like Google or online databases to find answers or relevant information while taking the exam. By relying on external sources, students can bypass the need for independent thinking and understanding, making it an effective way of cheating. Institutions must implement preventive measures to discourage and detect such cheating during online exams.
Strategies to prevent the misuse of online search engines and resources: To prevent the misuse of online search engines and resources during online proctored exams, educators and institutions can implement the following strategies:
- Time restrictions: Set time limits for each exam question to create a sense of urgency. This reduces students’ opportunity to search for answers online extensively, forcing them to rely on their existing knowledge and understanding.
- Design questions that require higher-order thinking: Craft exam questions that demand critical thinking, analysis, and application of knowledge rather than simple factual recall. These questions necessitate deep understanding and make it more challenging for students to find ready-made answers online.
- Closed-book policies: Communicate and enforce closed-book policies during exams, explicitly stating that using online search engines or external resources is prohibited. Reinforce the importance of integrity and the consequences of cheating.
- Unique question sets: Create unique questions for each student by randomizing question order or using question banks. This reduces the effectiveness of searching for specific answers online, as the questions will differ for each student.
- Use plagiarism detection tools: Employ plagiarism detection software to identify instances of copied or unoriginal content in student responses. These tools can compare students’ work with online sources and flag potential cheating attempts.
- Emphasize conceptual understanding: Encourage focusing on understanding concepts rather than memorizing isolated facts. By assessing students’ ability to apply knowledge and demonstrate comprehension, exams become less susceptible to cheating through online search engines.
6: Remote Control of Another Person in a Proctored Online Exam
Some students cheat during remotely proctored exams by employing remote control methods through another person. This technique involves the student enlisting someone else’s help to take an exam on their behalf. By utilizing screen sharing or remote access tools, the proxy gains control of the student’s computer and completes the exam under the student’s identity. Institutions must implement robust measures to prevent and detect such cheating practices during online exams, ensuring the integrity and fairness of the assessment process.
Recommendations to mitigate the risk of remote control cheating: To prevent the risk of remote control cheating during online proctored exams, educators and institutions can implement the following recommendations:
- Identity verification protocols: Strengthen the process using advanced facial recognition, biometric authentication, or government-issued identification techniques. This ensures that the person taking the exam is the authorized student.
- Live monitoring: Assign proctors or invigilators to monitor exam sessions through video feeds or screen-sharing capabilities. This allows them to detect suspicious activity, such as a different person taking the exam, and intervene promptly.
- Randomized question sets: Implement randomized question sets to reduce the effectiveness of remote control cheating. By presenting different questions or variations to each student, the proxy would not have access to specific questions or answers in advance.
- IP address tracking: Utilize IP address tracking tools to detect if the exam is accessed from a different location or IP address than the registered student. Sudden changes in IP address can raise red flags and prompt further investigation.
- Communication policies: Clearly communicate and enforce policies that explicitly state that the student must complete the exam independently and that any form of remote control or proxy is strictly prohibited. Emphasize the importance of personal integrity and the consequences of cheating.
- Proctoring software with AI-based behavior analysis: Employ proctoring software that utilizes AI-based algorithms to analyze student behavior during exams. These algorithms can detect irregularities, such as sudden changes in typing style or mouse movements, which may indicate the presence of a proxy.
Cheating through unauthorized browser tabs or applications is a common tactic students use during online proctored exams. By opening additional browser tabs or running separate applications, students can access external resources, search engines, or communication tools to obtain answers or assistance during the exam, giving them an unfair advantage.
Measures to detect and prevent the usage of unauthorized browser tabs or applications: To counter the usage of unauthorized browser tabs or applications during online proctored exams, educators and institutions can implement the following measures:
- Lockdown browsers: Utilize lockdown browser applications that restrict access to other browser tabs or applications during the exam. These specialized browsers create a controlled environment, preventing students from opening unauthorized resources.
- Webcam monitoring: Use webcam monitoring to observe the student’s computer screen during the exam. Proctors or invigilators can visually inspect the screen to detect suspicious activity, such as opening unauthorized browser tabs or applications.
- Proctoring software with screen monitoring: Deploy proctoring software that monitors the student’s screen in real-time. This software can detect and flag instances of unauthorized browser tabs or applications being accessed during the exam.
- Clear communication about guidelines: Communicate to students the guidelines and policies regarding using browsers and applications during exams. Emphasize that only authorized resources are permitted, and any use of unauthorized tabs or applications will be considered a violation of exam rules.
- Randomized question sets: Implement randomized questions to minimize the effectiveness of opening unauthorized tabs or applications. Each student receives a unique set of questions, reducing the ability to search for specific answers online.
- Enhanced browser monitoring: Explore proctoring solutions that include browser monitoring capabilities. These solutions can track the student’s browsing history and flag suspicious activity or unauthorized access to external resources.
8: Copying and Pasting Questions or Answers on Proctored Tests
Cheating through copying and pasting questions or answers is a deceptive tactic students employ during online proctored exams. In this method, students attempt to gain an unfair advantage by copying questions from the exam interface and pasting them into search engines or communication platforms to seek answers. Similarly, they may copy answers from external sources and paste them directly into the exam interface, bypassing the need for independent thinking and understanding.
Water bottles may also appear harmless, but not when a competent cheater exploits them! Some students make a cheat sheet from the bottle’s cover. The strategy could work well in a proctored test.
Techniques to address the issue of copying and pasting: To address the issue of copying and pasting during online proctored exams, educators and institutions can employ the following techniques:
- Randomized question order: Implement randomized question orders for each student to minimize the effectiveness of copying and pasting. This ensures that the question sequences differ, reducing the likelihood of finding direct answers through external sources.
- Time constraints: Set time limits for each exam question to create a sense of urgency. This reduces the opportunity for students to engage in extensive copying and pasting, forcing them to rely on their knowledge and understanding within the given timeframe.
- Proctoring software with activity monitoring: Utilize proctoring software that monitors student activity during the exam. This software can detect suspicious behaviors, such as rapid copying and pasting actions, and flag potential cheating attempts for further investigation.
- Use of unique questions or variations: Design unique questions or variations to prevent students from finding identical questions or answers online. This requires students to engage with the exam content in real time, discouraging the use of copied material.
- Education on academic honesty and integrity: Educate students about the importance of academic honesty and integrity. Emphasize the value of developing their knowledge and understanding and the long-term benefits of authentic learning and personal growth.
- Plagiarism detection tools: Employ plagiarism detection software to identify instances of copied or unoriginal content in student responses. These tools can compare the students’ work with online sources and highlight potential instances of copying and pasting.
9: Utilizing Virtual Machines or Remote Desktop Software To Cheat On Online Proctored Exams
Utilizing virtual machines or remote desktop software is a sophisticated cheating method some students employ during online proctored exams. By running virtual machine instances or using remote desktop software, students create a separate computing environment within their main device. This allows them to access external resources, search engines, or communication tools without detection, giving them an unfair advantage during the exam.
Preventive measures to curb the exploitation of virtual machines or remote desktop software: To curb the exploitation of virtual machines or remote desktop software during online proctored exams, educators and institutions can implement the following preventive measures:
- Proctoring software with system monitoring: Utilize proctoring software that monitors the system activity of the student’s device during the exam. This includes detecting virtual machine instances or remote desktop software running in the background and raising flags for potential cheating attempts.
- Device restrictions: Implement device restrictions that prevent students from running virtual machine software or accessing remote desktop applications during the exam. Lockdown browser applications can also restrict access to other software or applications that may enable cheating.
- Network monitoring: Employ monitoring tools to detect suspicious network activities indicative of virtual machine usage or remote desktop connections. Unusual network traffic patterns or connections can be warning signs for potential cheating attempts.
- Clear communication of policies: Communicate the exam policies and guidelines to students, explicitly stating that using virtual machines or remote desktop software is strictly prohibited. Reinforce the importance of academic integrity and the consequences of violating exam rules.
- Educating students about the negative implications: Educate students about the negative implications of utilizing virtual machines or remote desktop software for cheating. Emphasize the importance of personal growth, authentic learning, and the long-term benefits of honest academic achievement.
- Advanced proctoring techniques: Explore advanced proctoring techniques, such as live monitoring, eye-tracking technology, or facial recognition, to detect signs of a virtual machine or remote desktop usage during the exam. These technologies can contribute to a more secure and trustworthy assessment environment.
10: Impersonation or Identity Fraud
Impersonation or identity fraud is a serious cheating method individuals employ during online proctored exams. In this method, a student attempts to deceive the system by assuming another person’s identity, whether it is a classmate, a friend, or someone with expertise in the subject. By posing as someone else, they aim to take the exam under a false identity, exploiting the system and gaining an unfair advantage.
Strategies to minimize the risk of impersonation or identity fraud: To minimize the risk of impersonation or identity fraud during online proctored exams, educators and institutions can implement the following strategies:
- Enhanced identity verification: Implement robust identity verification processes, such as facial recognition technology or biometric authentication, to verify the student’s identity before the exam. This helps ensure that the individual taking the exam is a registered student.
- Remote proctoring with live authentication: Utilize remote proctoring solutions with live authentication features. Proctors or invigilators can visually verify the student’s identity through video feeds before the exam commences, reducing the risk of impersonation.
- Two-factor authentication: Implement two-factor authentication (2FA) methods, such as SMS codes or email verification, to add an extra layer of security to the login process. This helps ensure that only the authorized student can access the exam platform.
- Photo ID submission: Request students to submit a valid photo ID as part of the registration process. Cross-reference these IDs with the student’s appearance during the exam to verify their identity.
- Proctoring software with AI-based behavior analysis: Deploy proctoring software that utilizes AI-based algorithms to analyze student behavior during the exam. These algorithms can detect abnormalities in facial features or behavior that may indicate impersonation.
- Communication with students: Regularly communicate the importance of maintaining their integrity and the consequences of impersonation or identity fraud. Reinforce the value of their accomplishments and the long-term benefits of genuine learning and achievement.
With a deep understanding of the student experience, I craft blog content that resonates with young learners. My articles offer practical advice and actionable strategies to help students achieve a healthy and successful academic life.