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Preventing Academic Misconduct

Transitioning to online courses has presented challenges for students and faculty. This information serves as a resource for students during this difficult and unprecedented time of a pandemic. The goal of this information is to provide success strategies for students while completing academic work primarily in an online environment.

Taking Online Exams: A Proactive Guide for Preventing Academic Misconduct

Before the Exam

  • With courses being online, some classes have adopted “asynchronous learning” meaning that coursework may be completed outside of scheduled class time. Developing a study plan in preparation for all exams can improve success versus cramming in a short period of time. The following link will provide many useful tips and resources for time management, study tips, as well as a weekly and monthly study plan template: NC State Academic Skill Resources.
  • Review all exam guidelines. Consider the following:
    • Will the test take place at a specific date and time, or can you take the exam at any point during a particular window of time?
    • How much time will you have to complete the test?
    • What are other “need to know” factors outlined by the faculty member? If anything appears to be unclear in the instructions or guidelines, please contact your instructor/TA regarding any questions.
  • Know the exam format.
    • Will the exam be open or closed-book?
    • Will the exam be open or closed-notes?
    • Will the exam consist of multiple-choice questions? Will there be a written component?  Will there be short answer questions?
  • If you have a practice exam available, use that as an opportunity for additional practice and studying the material.
  • Consider technological capabilities/limitations.
    • Does your computer need any updates?
    • Does your professor/instructor require use of Respondus Monitor or Lockdown Browser?
    • Do you have access to a stable internet connection? If your internet connection is not stable, consider moving to a different location closer to the wifi router or clearing your internet cache.  Sometimes an unstable internet connection could be due to the number of devices connected to the wifi and decreasing the bandwidth. Additionally, if you do not have access to an internet connection, contact your instructor, professor, or TA to ask for alternative options for completing an exam. 
    • Will you need to use a computer lab with a high speed internet?
    • If you have the ability to take the test in several locations within your house, apartment or other location, consider where would be the best place to take the exam?
  • Plan your test taking location with minimal distractions. Turn off all notifications from IM, your phone, your email, and elsewhere (or, set them to silent). Let your roommates or family know that you’ll be taking a test, so that they’re less likely to interrupt you during that time.
  • Determine when you will take the test. You may have to take the exam at a specific time; however, if the test will be available for several hours (or even a few days), choose a time that presents the least potential for distraction, interruption, and stress.
  • Organize exam materials.
    • First find out if this exam is open-book and open-notes.
    • If your exam is open-book and open-notes, ensure you are using appropriate materials and resources.  Information found on third-party websites during an exam do not constitute as notes, therefore are NOT part of open-notes.

During the Exam

  • If your exam is closed book and closed notes, close out all windows except for your exam window.  Multiple tabs open can be an indication of utilizing unauthorized materials or resources. If you are permitted to search the web or check other websites for information, do not use the same tab or copy of the browser as you do for your exam—you may lose all your work. Instead, open a second copy of your browser (or, choose a completely different browser), then conduct your search.
  • Be mindful of any time limits. If your time is running out, do not attempt to take shortcuts by looking up information that may not be permitted for use during the exam.
  • Do not communicate with other students or individuals unless explicitly permitted by the instructor, professor, or TA.
  • If you experience technical issues, contact your instructor/professor to share your concerns.  If you are able to take a screenshot, do so for your reference and to document your issues.
  • Review your work before submission.

After the Exam

  • If you have questions about your grade, contact your instructor, professor, or TA.
  • Do not share or post any information related to exam questions or material with other students.
  • Do not take photos of exam material or post copies of exam material to third party websites such as CourseHero, Chegg, etc.

For more information about Academic Integrity, please consult your instructor’s course syllabus and the Code of Student Conduct. For more information on academics in the online environment, visit Keep Learning.


Watkins, R. & Corry, M. 2014. E-Learning Companion: A Student’s Guide to Online Success. 4th ed. Boston, MA: Wadsworth, Cengage Learning.