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15 Anti-cheating methods to increase online exam security

How to reduce cheating and enhance the security and integrity for your online exams. Delivering online exams securely


Ensuring the security of online exams is a paramount priority for organisations, who seek to address critical concerns surrounding the prevention of cheating and safeguarding intellectual property against question leakage.

The adoption of anti-cheat methods is a proactive strategy, significantly enhancing the overall security, validity, and integrity of the examination process. In this blog post, we’ll explore 15 anti-cheat features you can adopt for your online exams.

1. Disabling copying and pasting

An effective and popular anti-cheating measure involves disabling the copy-paste feature during exams. By implementing this restriction, candidates are prevented from copying exam content and distributing it to other test-takers or sharing it online.

This functionality is especially valuable for written exams, as it ensures candidates cannot input text from external sources, such as personal notes or Google, into the exam's text box.

Disabling copying and pasting

2. Creating dynamic exams from question banks

Dynamic exams offer the capability to create unique exams for each candidate. This functionality enables admins to quickly generates exams of equal weighting from extensive question banks. This is achieved by specifying how many questions are selected with a specific tag, such as “select 10 questions with the topic tag ‘Chemistry’”.

Consequently, candidates encounter varied sets of questions aligned with identical subject categories, ensuring both exam security and fairness.

Dynamic exams

3. Delivering exams in timed conditions

By setting a specific time limit for an exam, candidates have a restricted time frame for completing the assessment. This minimises opportunities for collusion among test-takers or attempts to search for answers online.

Upon the time limit expiring, candidates are automatically locked out of the exam, adding an extra layer of security against question leakage. This measure not only deters potential cheating but also ensures a more controlled and secure examination environment.

Timed exam

4. Timed sections and locking of sections

Organising an exam into sections and adding timed constraints within each section is an effective anti-cheating strategy. This approach restricts candidates from revisiting previous questions once a section is completed, significantly reducing the likelihood of question sharing.

Moreover, by imposing time limits on each section, candidates are compelled to manage their time efficiently. Once the allotted time for a section elapses, candidates are automatically locked out, preventing prolonged access and further mitigating the risk of cheating.

Sectioned exam

5. Shuffling the order of questions and answers

Randomising the order of questions is a valuable anti-cheating measure, whereby a candidate’s questions appear in a different order to everyone else. This ensures that each candidate encounters questions in a unique sequence, preventing the possibility of sharing answers based on question number.

Furthermore, shuffling the answer options in multiple-choice questions adds an extra layer of complexity. This variation makes it challenging for test-takers to convey specific answers to their peers, as the correct response is likely to be in a different position for each individual, thus reinforcing the exam's integrity.

6. Lockdown mode

Enabling a robust lockdown mode for exams ensures candidates are confined to staying within the exam window.

Test-takers are unable to access other browsers (preventing the ability to Google questions), utilise desktop applications (including messaging apps such as WhatsApp), or connect additional monitors to load notes.

This comprehensive security measure enhances the integrity of the exam environment by significantly limiting potential avenues for cheating.

7. Using proctoring for enhanced monitoring

Proctoring is an ideal solution for closely monitoring candidates during exams. Whether adopting webcam and laptop screenshots or continuous video monitoring, this provides a comprehensive view of the candidate's actions throughout the examination.

To further bolster security, enabling AI proctoring adds an extra layer of vigilance. This innovating technology auto-detects suspicious behaviour (such as having someone else in the room). These flags are reviewed in real-time by trained proctors saves your proctoring team hours from watching footage.

Overall, online proctoring for exams heighten the validity and integrity for online assessments.

Synoptic breach detected

8. Identity verification

Ensuring the correct candidate gains entry to the exam is achieved through ID checks. This critical step guarantees that only the authorised candidate, with the rightful access, participates in the exam, preventing any unauthorised individuals from taking the test.

9. Locking and unlocking of exam attempts

For precise verification of the candidate's identity, implementing a two-step process is effective. Initially, the exam is locked for all participants until the identity check is successfully completed.

Once the correct candidate is confirmed to be present, the exam attempt can then be unlocked, granting them access to commence the examination. This method ensures a secure and controlled environment for the exam, minimising the risk of unauthorised entry.

Locking and unlocking of exam attempts

10. Defining access rights to protect questions

Creating educator groups with specific access rights and responsibilities plays a pivotal role in safeguarding your question content and the examination process.

A strategic approach involves creating specialised educator groups, such as those dedicated solely to grading exams. Members of these groups possess the authority to only assess exams without the ability to view the source questions or edit the exams.

This structure of permissions is essential to mitigate the risk of both internal employees and external contractors inadvertently or intentionally leaking exam questions online. By implementing these measures, you proactively protect your intellectual property and uphold the integrity of your examination system.

Educator permissions for exams

11. Restricting question navigation

By implementing this feature, candidates are confined to answering the question at hand without the ability to navigate to previous or subsequent questions. This ensures a focused and sequential approach to the examination, enhancing the integrity of the assessment process.

Disabling navigation in an exam

12. Restricting IP addresses

Enforcing an approved list of IP addresses, such as testing centres or campuses, ensures that candidates can only access their exams from these specified locations. This stringent measure prevents the possibility of candidates sharing exam links externally, fortifying the exam against unauthorised access.

Restricting IP address

13. Single sitting submissions

Mandating that candidates complete the exam in a single sitting is a strategic measure to prevent unauthorised access. By enforcing this rule, if a candidate shares their exam link, it ensures that the intended examinee is the only one who can enter and undertake the exam, reinforcing the security of the examination process.

Sitting an exam in one sitting

14. Disabling spell check

In language assessments and other scenarios where the integrity of candidates' written work is paramount, the option to disable spell check proves valuable. This feature ensures that the content submitted truly reflects the candidate's own efforts, maintaining the authenticity and accuracy of their written responses.

Disabling spell check

15. Adding exam instructions

Before commencing the exam, candidates are provided with detailed instructions outlining essential rules and guidelines. This can include instructions such as the exam being closed book, the prohibition of using notes or conducting internet searches, and links to your exam terms and conditions.

To ensure thorough awareness, these exam instructions can be emailed to candidates ahead of their test day. This advance notice serves as an opportunity for candidates to familiarise themselves with the exam conditions, promoting a smooth and informed exam-taking experience.

Exam instructions

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