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All you wanted to know about web proctored exams… but were afraid to ask, by Sandy Koukoura, PEOPLECERT

Web proctored exams, remote exams, or online proctored exams, however you want to call it, are fast becoming the ‘in’ thing in the certification industry. More and more professionals are seeking ways to get a (much needed these days) professional certification with the least possible hassle they can get. And, in turn, more and more organizations are now investing in solutions that will enable them to offer their candidates the opportunity to take their exam wherever and whenever they want, simply using a web cam and the help of an online proctor.

So web proctoring is on the rise. And so it should be. Or shouldn’t it?

Those Web proctored converts will argue that web proctoring is the next best thing to technology to a web based exam. You go online, book the time that suits you, take your exam and that’s it, done.

Web proctored skeptics on the other hand will argue that the security of it all, as well as the integrity of the exam is in jeopardy. How do you know if someone cheats? How can you be sure that the exam is taken by the actual candidate? Why not stick to what we know, control and monitor?

The truth is that both the converted and the skeptics can be right. It all comes down to the organization offering the web proctored exam and its ability to meet key industry security requirements. Unless properly developed, web proctoring can completely change the meaning of certification and its value, towards its downfall.  

So, what do you need to check if you are looking for a web proctored exam?

  1. Make sure you do your research and find an organization that is certified, preferably to the ISO 270001 & ISO 9001 standards. This will ensure that they comply with global regulations regarding data privacy, quality management and exam integrity and it is actually the make or break between an organization that complies with exam security regulations and one that, well, doesn’t.
  2. Check the terms and conditions when paying with your credit card. Obviously.
  3. Check the requirements you need to meet prior to booking your exam A web proctored exam is supposed to make your life simpler, so if you see a long checklist of software you need to download, memory you need to have, documents you need to scan etc, maybe you should look elsewhere because in fact, all you should need is a webcam.  
  4. Check that you do everything online. Exam institutes that invest in web proctoring should also invest in a simple online application!
  5. Check that you take the exam with an online authorized proctor. A proctor should be trained to guide you through what should be a really simple process, from start to finish. Otherwise, what’s the point?
  6. Choose an organization that will help you all the way, organizations that offer exams around the clock should also have a customer support line available 24/7, for any questions you may have. Those that offer toll free numbers and instant messaging for instant support are obviously more likely to help you!
  7. Check that what you pay is what you get. Organizations that offer one price for your booking, e-certificate etc are a bonus but make sure that they deliver on their promise!
  8. For those who fear that their exam might not have the same value with a ‘traditional’ paper based or web based exam in a test centre may be reassured by checking an online certificate verification service.
  9. Last, but definitely not least, find an organization that is accredited for the exam you want! More and more organizations offer globally recognized certifications, such as ITIL and Lean Six Sigma, however, for your exam to be valid, these organizations themselves need to be accredited by the relevant body, which ensures that they have been assessed and evaluated for what they offer.

So, for professionals who are looking for a simple way to get certified and enhance their skills and professional development opportunities, web proctored exams are a great tool to do so, quickly and effectively. 

And organizations that offer exams, and given today’s competitive environment, need to evaluate whether they should be looking at offering easy, hassle free solutions… or stay out of the game. That simple!