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Online College Testing Requirements


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Testing Requirement Basics:

Whether you thrive under pressure or prefer to learn in a low-key environment, it’s important to find a college that meets your test-taking needs. Some online colleges require students to prove their knowledge by completing timed, high stakes exams. Others allow students to take tests at their own pace or prove their ability through alternative methods. This article explores some of the most popular test taking options available from online colleges.

Limited Testing:

A few online colleges limit the amount of testing students must complete. These programs may provide testing alternatives such as essay writing, portfolio reviews, or class projects. Although exams may be limited, most regionally accredited online colleges require students to complete some form of testing before graduation.

Online Exams:

A more common testing option is the online exam. Since students have no direct oversight, online exams are often open book. Timing these online exams makes it possible to judge a student’s knowledge. Since the student only has access to the questions for a limited amount of time, it becomes impossible to look up all of the answers. In some cases, online exams are closed book and students are required to sign an honor code promising to follow the proper testing procedures.

Proctored Exams:

Some online colleges require students to test under the oversight of a proctor. If a student does not live near the college’s brick-and-mortar campus, he is often required to find his own proctor or make an appointment at the testing center of a nearby school. Online colleges following this method generally publish a list of acceptable proctors which may include librarians, guidance counselors, teachers, administrators, and other education professionals. Due to recent testing scandals, most online colleges no longer allow coaches or employers to act as student proctors.

On-site Exams:

A number of online colleges require students to take exams at their physical campus. This requirement is more common with colleges that have on-campus residency requirements or blended learning programs.

Choosing a Program:

When comparing online colleges, consider how their testing requirements will affect you. Do you thrive under timed tests or would you prefer to work at your leisure? Will it be difficult for you to make arrangements with a proctor or will setting up these appointments keep you on track? Weighing the pros and cons of each option will help you make the best decision.
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