What Is Online Proctoring: Complete Guide

How Do Online Proctored Exams Work?

World digitalization is bringing critical changes in every sphere of our life. When it comes to education, e-learning has provided students (including disabled students) worldwide with an opportunity to get a course in a great variety of institutions regardless of their location. However, new possibilities come with new challenges. Thus, to preserve integrity, especially while assessing the students, educators have to adjust to new norms, enhancing their methods and approaches with new technologies.
Here comes an online proctored exam. This tool helps educational institutions monitor the examination process, preventing any type of cheating. In this article, we will have a closer look at what a proctored exam is, how it works, and what benefits it brings for educators and students.

What are Online Proctored Exams?

The online proctored exam also known as remote proctoring is a type of software that runs on the examinee desktop and allows examiners to supervise the assessment process in real-time. Its main purpose is to prevent cheating and to safeguard academic integrity while conducting online testing. Moreover, the proctor can also serve as an assistant in resolving any kind of arising technical issues.
Here are the five main ways to proctor an online exam.

Blocking Browser

Blocking browser is a special type of browser that locks the use of other applications (usually everything that lets students communicate or search the information) or desktop functions (such as printing) while going through the exam. This browser is installed on the examinee’s computer and can only monitor that device. This means that it can not prevent offline communication, the use of paper notes, or other additional devices.

Live remote proctoring

This type of online proctoring services is much the same as a center-based exam. It requires a human invigilator who monitors authentication and examination through the real-time audio and video feed. As the only difference with classroom testing is that everything is proctored remotely, it’s still necessary to book the exam date and time to ensure there are available proctors.

Recorded proctoring

As its name suggests, this proctoring method records all the audio and video data which is later looked through by a proctor in search for any undesirable activities. In contrast to live online proctoring, the recorded mode allows students to pass an exam 24/7/365. Yet, human intervention is inevitable.

Automated proctoring

Automated proctoring is an AI-based cutting-edge technology that doesn’t require any human intervention. This test proctoring software can analyze video/audio feed and deter any fraudulent activities. In case the student performs some undesirable actions the software immediately sends the report to the proctor who is to investigate the case and make the final decision. Compared to other methods, this proctoring solution is more convenient as there is no need to schedule the exams, and cost-effective as no human invigilator is required.

Blended online proctoring

This is a mixture of AI (artificial intelligence) proctoring and live online proctoring. The software keeps track of the examination and invites a live supervisor in case of any suspicious activities. Not only does this method help educational institutions to benefit from automation but also allows them to avoid false reports of student dishonesty.

What does remotely proctored mean?

Online proctored means that an exam is cheating-free despite being held remotely. Moreover, it would be a mistake to believe that remotely proctored means worse supervised than in-person. Here is why.

Authentication and verification. Similar to a center-based exam, before starting an online proctored test, participants have to go through a multi-level identity control.
Anti-cheating invigilation. As well as offline examination online proctored exam implies a supervisor. It can be a human proctor or an AI-powered software. In both cases, examinees are monitored via video and audio feed. Moreover, they are usually deterred from searching the web and using other desktop applications.

How remote proctoring works

At the core of online remote proctoring lies the robust software that helps educators create proctored tests in their Learning Management System (LMS). It usually ensures three main steps: authentication, real-time monitoring, and data storage and review. Let’s have a look at each of them.


Every exam starts with the authentication of the candidates. In the case of remotely proctored testing students usually have to enable their webcam and provide the photocopy of the ID. The software aligns the content of the ID to the student image from the video feed. As soon as the identity is verified the exam commences.

Real-time monitoring

As the test starts, an AI-powered software or a live human proctor monitors student behavior to flag any suspicious activities. Apart from basic video and audio proctoring, online exam can include a vast number of various invigilating features such as mobile phone detection, blocking browser, voice or eyes movement detection, and much more.

Data Storage and Review

Every type of remote proctoring implies that all video and audio data is recorded and kept on the cloud. It means that apart from real-time flagging it’s possible to review the information after the examination is finished and resolve some ambiguous cases.

What is proctoring software and how it helps to prevent cheating

Remote proctoring software is usually a cloud-based solution, meaning that it operates via the Internet. The main requirements to make use of this tool are the following:

  1. Desktop computer or laptop;
  2. Uninterrupted Internet connection;
  3. Webcam and the microphone;
  4. Appropriate operating system;
  5. Browser supported by the software.

AI-powered proctoring software is a top-notch tool to ensure the integrity of the online exam. Via the webcam, it can monitor the environment around the candidate, provide facial recognition, to room scan in order to detect another person nearby, the use of other devices, whispering, etc. Moreover, having access to the test-taker screen, it can lock any undesirable on-screen activities such as web search, use of other apps, etc.

What are the benefits of online proctoring?

Online proctored exams come with benefits for both students and educational institutions. Here are some of them:

  • Examination security and academic integrity. Online proctored testing gives educators a chance to set a balance between flexibility and integrity. Due to this tool, they can establish their online reputation while giving students a chance to enjoy e-learning benefits.
  • No scheduling, no exam centers. Remote proctoring allows students to take exams anywhere and anytime.
  • Examination fairness. It may seem that online proctoring services are only aimed at detecting potentially cheating students. However, it is also about ensuring fair competition for those taking the exam.
  • Cost-efficiency. No necessity in examination centers and physical proctors results in significantly lower administrative costs for educational institutions.
  • Advanced anti-cheating monitoring. A great variety of online proctoring features, including the AI-powered ones, make it almost impossible to cheat, making the online exam even more secure than its offline equivalent.

What is the future of remote proctored exams?

E-learning has proven to be one of the most convenient ways of studying for both learners and educators. However, there are still grave concerns about the honesty and integrity of the online student assessment. Remotely proctored exams are there to dispel any doubts.
With the help of AI-powered features, they can ensure highly accurate and efficient monitoring of the examination, flagging any suspicious and fraudulent activities. As a result, both parties win: students enjoy fair competition while educational institutions build up their online reputation and reduce administrative expenses.


What is remote proctoring?

Remote proctoring is a system that allows examinees to take exams anytime and anywhere while providing examinators with the ability to continuously monitor this process. It’s a cutting-edge technology ensuring online testing security and high integrity.

Where can I take a proctored exam?

Online proctored exams imply that you can take them from any comfortable place. Make sure you have a robust internet connection, webcam, microphone, and that your browser is supported by the proctoring software.

Who is a proctor?

А proctor is usually an experienced human supervisor who monitors the testing and helps to resolve some technical issues if necessary. If proctoring is fully automated, AI-powered software acts as an invigilator, analyzing examinee behavior and sending time-stamped reports with tracks of dishonesty. ProctorEdu is the only proctoring provider to encourage the scheme when live proctoring runs with people from your University or organization. This can be any professor, coach or supervisor, etc. Not only is it fully compliant with any data privacy regulation, but also gives students peace of mind during the test.

Can a proctor see your screen?

Online proctoring providers are in the know about how stressful first online proctored exams can be for test-takers. That is why we go the extra mile to eliminate students’ data privacy concerns. With ProctorEdu, a proctor can see only the browser screen of a student and can never get access to their files. What is more, your proctors are people from your University or organization, which means no third-party human monitoring is involved. 

How Are Web Proctored Exams Different from Un-proctored Exams?

Un-proctored exams come with a rather high risk of cheating and candidate dishonesty. Web proctored exams, in contrast, constantly monitor the examinee behavior with the help of various anti-cheating features such as video and audio invigilation, blocking web browsers, voice detection, etc.

Can an exam be proctored without you knowing?

Online proctoring can never be started without students being aware of it. Before online proctoring begins, you will be shown the rules of the event, and afterwards you will be asked to give your permission for the event to start. For example, being a web browsers solution, ProctorEdu starts with your browser asking permission to access your web cam, microphone and browser in its usual way.

How do I take a remote proctored exam?

You'll need a stable internet connection, a webcam, and a microphone. First, download and install the required remote proctoring tools on your computer. The proctoring system will guide you through the setup process. You'll also need to provide valid ID for verification. During the exam, the tools will monitor your computer activity and physical environment to ensure academic integrity. Remember to check your equipment before the exam and make sure your workspace is quiet and free of distractions.

Is it a real person watching a proctored exam?

With remote proctoring, there can be both real-time human proctors and automated proctoring services involved. Many remote proctoring companies use AI technology to monitor exam-takers and flag any suspicious activity. This includes detecting unusual behavior or unpermitted resources in the testing environment. However, in some cases, a real person might also be involved. So, while online remote proctoring technology does a lot of the monitoring, there may still be a human element involved, ensuring the integrity of the exam process.

What are the disadvantages of remote proctoring?

While remote proctoring software facilitates exams during remote learning, it comes with several disadvantages. Privacy is a concern, as live online proctoring involves video and audio surveillance, which some find intrusive. There may be technical issues with internet connectivity or software glitches, which can disrupt the exam process. Online proctoring services also require certain hardware specifications, potentially excluding students without access to the necessary technology. Lastly, the remote proctoring environment may increase test anxiety for some students.