Since the start of the pandemic in 2020, online exams turned from a future concept to reality. Whether the world was ready for the change or not, we just had to make do with this solution. Without online exams, our education system would come to a halt or even collapse. Hence this solution is not just a fancy innovation but a necessity at this point. However, since then, many students are choosing to study online and give online exams as well because of the advantages. In fact, many students say: ‘I wish they would only take my exam online!’
However, since this concept is still in its initial phase, it has its fair share of drawbacks as well. As a matter of fact, there are also students who claim they like in-person exams because they are easier. Hence, there is no single answer to this debate because online exams have their own pros and cons. So let’s count the advantages and disadvantages to see how many of them can affect you.
Good For The Environment
One of the biggest pros of online exams is the effect it has on our environment. Traditional exams demand a lot of paper to print question and answer sheets for the students. Plus, when there are some printing errors or over-estimation of learner numbers, it wastes tons of paper. This, combined with the carbon footprint of the logistics around getting the papers to and from examination locations makes up a lot of environmental pollution. In simple words, online exams are the most environmentally friendly option to check students’ knowledge.
Online exams also save you money in so many ways that you didn’t realize before. Since your exam is online, there are no costs for printing and no logistics or travel costs. It can also save expense on exam rooms and the required facilities as well as invigilators. Online exams still require some expenses such as email distribution systems, online proctoring, and IT support, but it is still much less than traditional exams. Moreover, students won’t have to pay the expense of traveling to the exam hall.
Takes Less Time
There is no doubt that online exams take way less time than traditional exams. This is vase when people are doing things manually such as distributing the paper and whatnot, they require extra time. Plus, you will get to save time by not having to travel to and from your exam locations, then waiting for the papers to be given and collected. Moreover, most online examinations are graded by computers, and hence, teachers don’t have to spend excessive amounts of time checking exam papers. Finally, students get to see their results almost instantly instead of waiting for their teachers.
Another great thing about online exams is the convenience factor for students and teachers. Examiners can design tests using previous papers, and then easily upload them to their exam platform. Moreover, students get to enjoy timing flexibility and varying slots for the same exam. Plus, since the exams are online, they can do it from almost anywhere as per the guidelines. Another convenience is that students don’t have to spend days feeling anxious about their results. Finally, online exams are really easy to set up for a large scale of students around the world.
With all these advantages, online exams can also pose some challenges for students and teachers. The transition from traditional exams to online exams is quite hard for many people. This especially includes older learners who are not used to computers (the teachers) and students from developing countries. People are taking their time to adapt to this change just as examiners need to get used to this new system. Hence, when students and examiners face technical issues during the exam season, it can affect students’ grades.
Students Try New Ways To Cheat
Just as new systems emerge, people start trying new ways to find loopholes and cheat. Online exams are no exception to this as students are heavily inclined toward finding cheating hacks for their tests. They try to share their screens with other users to help them out during their exams. Plus, if the school requires access to their screens, they keep books, notes, and other resources near them to find answers. Finally, if the school has access to the webcam, audio, and screen, the students simply paste sticky notes on their screens.
Device And Internet Issues
Let’s admit it, not all of us have the latest Apple devices such as laptops and computers to attempt exams. Many students have to share their laptops with their siblings in the same household and their schedules can clash. Moreover, if your device is old, it can be hard to get it repaired or afford a new one. Plus, this is something your school cannot help you with and you will have to manage it on your own. This can feel unfair to students with fewer finances and budgets and those from developing countries.
Harder To Grade Long Questions
While machines have come pretty far, they still have time to compete with teachers in many aspects. One of those areas are assessing long questions and answers and checking the accuracy. Even though online exams have made teachers’ job very easy, the problem remains with long answers. Those answers which are even the tiniest bit subjective need manual grading, for which examiners need to invest additional time. This is where the modern system has yet to match the standards of the traditional exam system. As technology continues to evolve, we hope the grading of long answers becomes easier for teachers.
The Final Verdict:
Whether or not you are going to love online exams or not depends on your situation and priorities. There is no doubt that even though online exams offer many benefits, they have their downsides too. Online exams allow you to give your exam any time to want and from any location. Moreover, they take up less of your time and money and you get the results faster. Finally, they are very easy to administer and great for the environment too!
All these advantages will make you want to consider online learning, however, you need to consider the disadvantages too. Online exam platforms are still new and hard to use for many people, especially if you aren’t tech-savvy. Moreover, they aren’t exactly fair because students who are sly get to score more through cheating. Plus, you should have the best facilities and resources to take my exam online. Finally, you cannot auto-grade long and subjective answers in online exams. Hence, if you are not too affected by the disadvantages of online exams, you should consider them.
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