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PMI
15 September 2020

Online exam discoveries

With October soon to be upon us, two things are fast approaching, Christmas, and of course the ADRP exams – I will guess you’re only really excited about one of them.

Before you can gorge yourself on seasonal delights, squabble with visiting relatives, watch James Bond or the Queen on the television, you need to get through these exams. That’s nothing new, but now you’re an online learner, which means that the exams will be a little different. Not necessarily easier. Not necessarily harder. Just different.

This is not our first time at the dance with this, and because of what we now understand about the delivery model, we’re giving you a few tips we know you’ll be grateful for. No need to send us a thank you note. Just show your gratitude by kicking the stuffing out of your exams and saving it for the turkey this year.

1. Show up for your exam

Pretty obvious, right?

But it’s easier than you’d think to miss an online exam. Sometimes, convenience can give way to complacency, which is a close cousin to forgetfulness.

Back before the days of online education, there are many horror stories of oversleeping. Waking up in a cold sweat, jumping in a cab and asking to get to somewhere ‘like yesterday’ or jumping into the car and getting to the venue like you are a Formula One driver, parking illegally, and still managing to be fifteen minutes late, looking you had just recently been sucked through a jet propeller, but ultimately managing to squeeze in the exam – but in no state of mind to be there!

Of course, that is not recommended (on every level).

The thing about online exams though is that if you don’t show up on time, you could be locked out altogether.

The software used to proctor your exam will not demonstrate the same flexibility as physically turning up 15 minutes late – neither does it show the same pity!

Your online exams are timed, which means you need to carve out an uninterrupted block of time for your test.

More like this…

Know what time your exams are (or alternately, how long you have to take them) and be at your computer, ready to pounce.

2. Prepare your machine

Ground Control to Major Tom. Your circuit’s dead. There’s something wrong…and now you’re going to fail.

One of the easiest ways to blow it on your online exam is failing to sufficiently prepare your computer. Online exams are timed, meaning you can’t afford any interruptions to your power, web connection, or basic program functionality. Make sure you’ve tested the link or software you’ll need for the exam, that all the proper updates and plug-ins have been downloaded, that you’re close to a power source, and that you actually know how to use the thing. This is the primary medium for connecting to your exam. Its weaknesses are your weaknesses.

You will be sent the information necessary to check your system well in advance of your exam – MAKE SURE YOU READ AND UNDERSTAND THESE INSTRUCTIONS.

3. Don’t get complacent about the remote invigilation thing

I mean, obviously, don’t cheat, right?

But we’re not just saying this for ethical reasons. We’re saying it because you’ll probably get caught.

PMI online exams are all supervised. It’s not cost-effective to send a proctor to every learner’s house or place of study so we remotely proctor the majority of our exams, and invigilate one to one on others.

You will be told on the morning of your exam if you are to be proctored one-to-one or remotely proctored.

The main difference here is that you are observed as a single learner (one-to-one) or within a group (remotely) Online testing isn’t just convenient for learners. It’s also convenient for examiners. Online testing software makes it easy to test each learner for the same information while providing every learner with a uniquely sequenced exam. The software also allows us to be able to review times away from the desk or any activity which may the affect integrity or security of the exam itself. It also means they do not have to try and decipher your handwriting!

4. Anticipate technical problems

If you’ve ever spent a miserable hour on hold with your Wi-Fi provider while staring furiously at an empty wireless signal just wondering what could possibly justify a service interruption considering how much you pay for Internet every single month, then you know the ability to connect to the world wide everything is sometimes out of your hands. No matter how well-prepared you are, things can go wrong. The best thing you can do is have a method of contacting us in the event of an emergency glitch. On the day that a solar flare mucks-up your connectivity, or a hacker dismantles your operating system from afar, or a squirrel shimmies into your house through a drain-pipe and chews through your power cord, you should have a way of emailing, texting, or calling us at the PMI. Notify us of the situation, take a screen shot for proof if possible, and throw yourself at our mercy. If you really couldn’t take your test because of matters beyond your control, most decent human beings will exercise clemency, including us, honestly it is nothing to get worked up about – just make sure we know as soon as you can, then everything is still possible.

5. Don’t forget to submit when you have completed and only when you have completed

Most online exams aren’t done until you click the “Submit” button at the end. This is a good thing insofar as it allows you to go back through your exam and review your work. If you have time left once you’ve completed your first run-through, it is a really great idea to give it another sweep. But, once you’re done with that, make sure you find your way back to the end and hit that button. And wait until your submission is confirmed.

Don’t get hasty and navigate away from the page just because you’ve going through dopamine withdrawal. Make sure all of your hard work actually transmits before congratulating yourself with a bunch of idle web wandering.

6. Leave it on the field

Obviously, we want you to do well on your exams.

The most successful learners and professionals are those who know how to shift gears when study time is over. With that in mind, we will try to get your results and certificates to you in a better response time and with more efficiency.

There’s a saying in sports that the best players leave the game on the field, that whether you win or lose, you should dial back your competitive intensity and give yourself an emotional respite before the next contest. The same is true of test-taking. Once the exam is over, certificated and feedback is received, you have the right (and arguably the responsibility) to dial back the intensity.

Save your strength for the next round of exams in Spring 2021.

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Last update: 15 September 2020

Keith Hoodless
Keith Hoodless
PMI
Director of Qualifications and Lifelong Learning

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