COVID-19 has forced both students and instructors to adapt to different learning styles and teaching methods this fall. Just like everything else, exam time is different at VIU. Since most exams are taken at home, they will technically be some kind of take-home exam. VIU has included all timed tests in the exam schedule. However it is possible that you will be given more time for the test. Your instructors will explain everything.

Other than the timed exams as shown on the exam calendar, we expect many nontimed, take-home tests to be given in the last week and returned during the following week. Your instructors can provide full details about the exam, including due dates. This means that there could be more than one exam due at the same time. Good time management skills will be required.

Explore the following information to find out about the different types and preparations you should make for these tests.

Types of online testing

These are some of the possible types of assessments your instructors may be using this semester to assess you learning.

Multiple-choice exams

The instructor may decide that tests can be conducted online in the same manner as they are in class. In this case, collaboration (peers talking to one another and sharing their best answers to peer review) is possible. They are aware that this collaboration is a great learning strategy. Students will learn as they take the tests and can benefit from other students' preparations.

Students prep strategy

Befriend a few classmates, share your knowledge and work together on the test. Most likely, the instructor will assume that you will have all your books open. This means you will not be able to find all the answers in the test. Therefore, prepare by memorizing relevant facts and vocabulary. Know your resources well so that you can quickly look up information if it isn't what you remember. Microsoft OneNote makes it easy to create tags that allow you to quickly find key terms in your notes. Make sure to follow these exam preparation tips, which are outlined on the Learning Matters page.

Multiple-choice examination with various versions

While your instructor may conduct online tests the same way as usual, VIULearn will allow them to create a "bank", which means they have to work harder. This creates a "bank" of questions that each student must answer. It reduces collaboration. Students can still discuss and answer every question in the same place or virtually, but this would mean they'd have to answer all of the questions for the two tests they are given and therefore do twice the work.

Students prep strategy

Each of you should pick one study buddy. Together, make a promise to help your fellow students prepare for their exams. Studying together and learning from another person can help you to learn more. If you make at least one new friend each week, your chances to socialize and decrease loneliness while learning online can drop. Trent University provides additional tips and tricks for studying for open-book exam online.

Short-answer Tests

Instructors can use short-answer test to create problem-solving and critical thinking short-answer exams. Short-answer test questions can be used to help students develop critical thinking skills.

Students prep strategy

So that you can better apply them to short answers and cases, it is a good idea to start by studying the terminology, facts, concepts. Short-answer test instructors may have also used short-answer cases in their course. In this case, they might have encouraged you to apply concepts. Therefore, make sure that you study all assignments and cases the instructor assigns. As the instructor is trying to help you pass the exam, it is important that you actively participate in classes, exercises, and cases. For those who don't have the skills to apply the knowledge, it might be worth creating a study team or working with a partner to help one another. These tips from Education Corner can help you prepare yourself for short answer exams.

General exam preparation tips

These strategies can be used to help you pass any type of take-home test.

Time management

Create a schedule with your personal deadlines for each exam. This will allow you to not have to submit all your exams on the exact same day. So that you have enough time to prepare for all your exams, create your own due dates. Keep your calendar filled with these dates. It will relieve stress by allowing you to control your schedule, and within the limitations of what your instructors expect. Make positive pressure and set a deadline together for each test. Then, hold your friend accountable for following the instructions. To avoid distractions while studying, or working through an hour block for an exam, turn off notifications on your phone or computer. Check out the Learning Matters Manage Time And Concentration page for more information.


When time is tight, we might find we have less need for the activities that fuel our energy, alertness and positive mental state, such as sleep and nutrition. We may also choose to limit the activities that bring us joy and belonging. It is possible to see yourself as more than just a human worker with lots of tasks. Being happy, well-fed, connected, and satisfied will allow you to be a better performer each day that your take-home exam.

Study strategies

First, familiarize yourself with your course's learning outcomes. These can be found in your syllabus. Instructors design quizzes, tests and assessments to assess learning outcomes. Learn more about it on the Learning Matters Study Skills and Techniques page.

Many students do not realize that their instructor serves as a learning resource. If you are unable to understand something, your instructor can help. You can find out more at Learning Matters about connecting with instructors.

You can help yourself by joining study groups, or having a study buddy. You can both quiz each other and share concepts. Peer Supported Learning (PSL), is available if it's offered in your program. PSL is a program that supports peer learning and provides free support for study sessions.

How to manage anxiety

Finally, you can learn to manage your anxiousness and practice calm. Try to quieten your mind each day and practice mindful breathing. This will allow for you to shift into a state calm. This will help you stay present and calm and allow you to control your mind so that you can focus on the task at the hand. Listen to the Successful U Podcast's Third Episode: Handling Stress.

A good preparation strategy is essential for great test-taking techniques. You should also check in with your instructors regarding expectations regarding the type and content of the test, and collaborate on assignments and tests. It's important to manage your time and stress, as well as use a variety learning strategies to help you prepare for and succeed on exams. Reach out to us if you need help. We have a lot of resources and support.

Related article from EuropeanBusinessReview:

Related Resources:  
4 Tips For Offering Online Exams
Online Exams: 5 Benefits
Online Exams: Five Advantages
5 Advantages to Online Exams