How to make test rules for online exams in 2024

Educators need to understand how to create practical instructions for online exams, and it doesn’t have to incite stress. Virtual testing has its own set of challenges. Having the correct information and latest tips help ensure a productive test environment while more courses are shifting to an online setting is a must.
While the demand rises, there is an increasing amount of tools at the educator’s disposal to help combat this shift in testing parameters. Here is a comprehensive guide that will aid in building a set of rules for any online test. Achieving academic excellence is essential and online exam guidelines are paramount for students’ success.

Why Do You Need More Rules for Online Exams?

Maintaining Academic Integrity

Maintaining a high level of academic integrity is an essential reason for online test and exam rules. There are areas of exploitation students will find whether testing is in physical form or digital. With the right tools and exam rules, digital formats can minimize academic dishonesty to a safe number.

High Academic Success

When students have direct and forward exam rules, they are far more apt to succeed. Rules and preemptively posted instructions and exam guidelines are a recipe for success. This can even include exam times. Offering exam times upfront can provide students with flexibility with their schedules resulting in a higher learning outcome.

Logistical Ease

The exam rules are in place, and the test questions are written perfectly. Logistically online examination is highly efficient. Physical testing centers cost more time and money than their online counterparts. This ensures an expedited academic path that is more in line with the speed of modern times.

How to Make Instructions for Online Exams

Making exam rules for online exams isn’t difficult, even for teachers who are entirely new to digitized testing. There are simple criteria that will help shape any exam format. From multiple choice question exams to long-form essay questions, making instructions for online tests doesn’t have to be stressful. The potential for a positive learning outcome is obtainable in this virtual testing environment. If cheating and academic dishonesty are factors, virtual proctoring is available. Here is a brief list of criteria to formulate a starting point.

Write an Online Exam Outline for Your Students

When addressing students with the exam itself, it is helpful to outline the exam as precisely as possible. An online exam guideline that acts as a preview to the actual exam will help students prepare for the exam. Students will also manage their time during examinations much more effectively. This outline or guideline can include testing duration, format, point value per question, and even disciplinary measures to deter cheating.

Instructions for Online Tests Should Reflect Course Objectives

Formulating the instructions for an online exam should build an exam that coincides with the course’s objectives. Instructions are in place to guide a student effectively through the exam process. The exam process is to test the ability of students to absorb the concepts the course is trying to instill. Therefore, keeping course goals in mind while developing exam instructions is essential.

Online Test or Exam Instructions Need to be Written Clear and Definitively

This is an essential concept for educators. Writing instructions unambiguously for students will help them prepare and test more successfully. This will even help deter cheating because students know exactly how to study. Therefore, cheating is less necessary. This covers issues with students like open textbook exams versus having no materials.
For example, some formats include take-home examinations. Write instructions that clear the air if collaboration is acceptable or prohibited. Well-written instructions can even leave room for feedback. Feedback is, of course, optional. This strategy allows room for lines of communication to grow between student and teacher. For clarification, here is a simplistic list of do’s and don’ts when writing online exam rules:

  • Don’t Do: Collaborating with friends and family during your take-home examination is strictly prohibited.
  • Do: Collaboration with any outside persons is strictly prohibited.

Setting specific groups of people instead of everyone will deter students from finding a loophole.

  • Don’t Do: Write instructions giving students allotted time on specific exam sections.
  • Do: Write rules that state the time for the test as a whole.

This allows students to learn to budget time instead of getting distracted by devoting testing time to figuring out how much time they have per section.

  • Don’t Do: Smartphones are not permitted to be used during testing.
  • Do: All electronic devices, textbooks, and course materials are restricted.

This leaves students with zero room for interpreting the exam instructions to allow them to bend a rule.

Examples of Online Test Rules

Examples can facilitate the learning curve with online examination instructions for students. Some beginner examples include basic concepts like permittable materials.

Bathroom breaks are a relevant and fundamental topic to discuss rulings on.

Talking during the test or being alone during the exam is essential but necessary.

Hardware is an important example not to be overlooked. Students need to have working microphones and cameras If need be.

Students must also have a reliable internet connection. This is important to ensure smooth testing. Technical difficulties can be made into an opportunistic situation for students involving re-testing.

Tips for Making Online Test Instructions

  • Beginning with basic rules for an exam can be a helpful starting point.

  • Bathroom breaks during exams are essential and should be stated clearly.

  • Communicating rules for talking during the exam are a given.

  • Providing a guideline for students’ exam preparation is essential.

  • Warning students about virtual proctoring can deter cheating and promote academic integrity.

How to Know if Online Exam Rules are Followed?

ProctorEdu proctoring services can help with virtually proctoring a classroom during examinations. A test score should reflect the thinking skills of the students. Virtual Proctoring can administer a successful academic assessment. Classroom instructors can promote academic integrity by being present virtually.


Online examination is an opportunity for instructors and educators. Creating clear, detailed instructions and preparing students for their virtual learning environment can promote academic success as effectively as a physical learning environment. Writing instructions that surpass the obvious basics such as hardware required, bathroom breaks, and rules that deter cheating are necessary and sometimes not obvious.
Be detailed about the specifics of the exam administered. Format questions, point values, question types, and allotted times are all topics that need to be addressed. Students effectively prepare for the exam process, resulting in higher success rates.


How do you give students instructions for online testing?

Students should be given instructions as a preparation for the exam. A clear and detailed outline or guideline of the exam should be administered before the exam. This allows students to budget time studying and is prepared for bathroom schedules or gathering necessary materials.

How, do you write test instructions?

Exam and test instructions should be written with course objectives as a focal point. The other end of interest is student success and maintaining academic honesty. If written in a way to deter dishonesty is more straightforward; to paint with that brush instead. Software tools can be used.

Why is it essential to create clear test instructions?

Creating clear test instructions is paramount to the success of the student. A student can prepare more effectively when the education leaves nothing to the imagination. Concise testing instructions also ensure a smooth process for the educator or instructor. Instructors receive less feedback when simple instructions are made.