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The Ultimate Guide for Studying for Online School Exams

March 18, 2022

As our world continues to become increasingly tech-focused, more students are attending online school, and consequently, those students are taking an increased number of online exams.

Following is a student guide to online school assessments for families pursuing an online middle school or online high school.

Experienced faculty, like those at Dwight Global Online School, assist student test preparation by providing study guides, review sessions, and extra one-on-one time for tutorials and extra help.

Dwight Global’s faculty are specialists in online teaching and learning and make themselves available via email and virtual live meetings to help all students prepare and do their best on all assessments.

how to study for online school exams

Before the Exam: Prepare

Study the Material

As with traditional assessments, be sure to set aside plenty of time in your schedule to prepare for your online exam.  Create a list of topics to study, focusing on areas that you may not have understood as well in class.

As you study, read over class material and notes, and study feedback given to you by your teacher.  Students may find that using mnemonic devices or mind maps can be helpful in learning class content.  Even if the assessment is “open book,” it is important to learn the material thoroughly.

Prepare for Different Formats

Students should be ready for a variety of assessment formats, such as short answer questions, essays, problem sets, or challenging ways to apply learned material. Often, a teacher will share the test formats ahead of time or give you a sense of what to expect.  Depending on the class and the materials given to you by your teacher, you may even be able to take a practice exam.

Ask Questions

If you still have questions after reviewing study guides and topic lists, take the opportunity to speak with your teacher and make sure your questions are answered.  If questions come to mind later, you can even email the teacher with your own list of questions.  Emailing with a specific question is often an effective way to show your teacher you are engaged with the assignment and want to do your best.  At Dwight Global, you can also schedule a meeting with a Learning Support teacher who can help you work through difficult problems and concepts.

Communicate Learning Accommodations

If you receive testing accommodations, be sure to communicate these with your teacher in advance.  If you think you may be entitled to accommodations, but are not sure, ask your teacher, Dean, or a school testing coordinator.

Check Your Tech

Students attending an online school rely on technology to help them learn, and you will want to make sure your digital equipment is ready for the exam. Ensure that devices are either charged or plugged in properly and that you have a solid internet connection.

If your teacher has told you that you will need special software for the exam, like DigiExam or PearDeck, make sure that the software is properly installed and that you are able to log in.  For some exams, the teacher will require material to be uploaded in a certain format.  These instructions will be provided in advance.  Review them and make sure you are able to meet the testing requirements.

Plan Out Where You Will Test

Making space – literally and figuratively – for your online assessment is important. Carve out a quiet space that will allow you to focus on your work without any distractions. Turn your phone to silent so you are not interrupted with messages, calls, email, or other notifications. Be sure to minimize distractions and make sure that the people around you understand that you need some quiet time to complete the assessment.

Gather Everything You Will Need

One of the many benefits of online school is the flexibility to study from home, on set, or in an athletic facility.. As you prepare for your exam, think about what will help you:

  • Do you feel most test-ready when you are dressed up, or more comfortable in casual clothing?
  • Will you benefit from having water nearby to keep yourself hydrated?
  • Is your chair and desk comfortable and distraction-free?
  • Is the temperature comfortable? 
  • Do you need pencil and paper to plan answers or solve problems?

Think about what will help you, and yet not distract you. Make sure everything you need is available within arms’ reach.

Get Adequate Rest
Getting enough sleep prior to an exam is key to doing well on it. Rather than staying up late studying, plan ahead to ensure you come into the assessment well-rested and ready to do your best.

During the Exam: Concentrate

Be Mindful of Your Time

Just as runners need to pace themselves during a race, keeping an eye on the clock will set you up for success. You may want to set a stopwatch or clock alarm to remind you when you have 15 minutes left, for example.

Maintain Academic Integrity!

Make sure to follow all rules regarding use of the Internet and outside sources.  For example, is the assessment “open book,” or are you expected to complete the exam without outside sources?  If you aren’t sure, it’s your responsibility to ask your teacher.  You can also consult your school’s academic honesty policy for more information and guidance.

Ask for Help

If you don’t understand a question on the exam, ask your teacher or proctor. Similarly, if you experience technical problems during your online exam, take a deep breath and stay calm. Contact your teacher or proctor and explain the exact problem in detail. If you can take a screenshot photo of your work, this will prove useful as well.

Review Your Work

As with an exam in a traditional school, review and check your work before submitting it.  It’s always best to look for typos and grammatical errors before handing in your work.

After the Exam: Review and Reflect

Evaluate your progress

Once you are finished with your exam, you may feel relieved that the test is over, or you may feel concerned about your performance on the test.  You may feel a bit of both!

Spend a moment reflecting. How do you think it went? What parts did you find confusing or challenging? Taking stock after a test can help you evaluate your progress and, in turn, improve in the future.

Plan for the Next One

After evaluating your work and reviewing the teacher’s feedback, think about what you can do to make the next assessment even better. What worked and what did not?

  • Did you prepare effectively?
  • Were you comfortable in your workspace? 
  • Did you have enough quiet to focus? 
  • Did you gather everything you needed?
  • Did you feel calm during the exam?

Taking an assessment can produce anxiety, but with preparation and the tips mentioned above, you should be positioned to do your best and demonstrate what you have learned.

Would you like to learn more about online middle and high school? Learn about the personalized online programs available at Dwight Global Online School here.