Online exams vs. pen paper exams – Facts you must know

Online exams vs. pen paper exams – Facts you must know

Due to advancement in use of technology in education sector, the traditional pen paper examinations will soon be history. Institutions will conduct online classes and assessments will also be done online. The papers will be evaluated automatically (for objective questions) or by teachers online (for subjective questions).

In this article, we want to take a closer look at the difference between the online exams and the written pen paper exams. Here are some tips and tricks on how to effectively prepare and conduct these exams.


Latest trend in conducting exam

Online testing today isn't just about taking computer exams. It also includes changes to the test schedule, design, conduct, monitoring and evaluation methods. Candidates download test papers at a specific time and scheduled date and receive answers from generally secure test centers. Upon completion of the exam, candidates will be asked if they are ready to complete the exam, and the system (and technology) takes care of the rest.

Online testing has many advantages and is the most widely used test method in most developed countries. Enhanced security for test centers require photo identification and digital signatures.

To avoid cheating, there are live proctoring and also restriction on the use of electronics devices.

Test owners can benefit from improved security when delivering exam. Test papers are not printed, physically transmitted, digitally encrypted, and uploaded to the test center on the day of the test. This is why the number of centers that have started taking exams online has increased

Students have grown up surrounded by technology and use it a lot more than the previous generation. This has been moved to a classroom where teachers use modern teaching methods such as VR and AR to enhance student learning. Virtual and Augmented Reality in student Learning and Development has completely revolutionized the way teachers teach and students learn. With the help of VR and AR, students learn interactively like never before.

This means that students of this generation are more familiar with the technology in education and using it in exams seems to be the next logical step. In fact, many students can be uncomfortable with the idea of ​​a paper exam when there is a lot of learning using technology.

Online exams can make students feel more accessible. They also appear to be more standardized, so you can have the perception of being fairer because the markings are also standardized.

Digital technology, for example, is already used on test boards to isolate answers to individual questions to speed up the marking process.

Thus, awareness of improved fairness may have already been demonstrated in the marking process, which can be replicated in the use of the technique for evaluation purposes.

Online exam vs. paper pen exam

Time required

Traditional examination systems are very long and time-consuming. On the other hand, online exams have fast performance and evaluation processes, provide a fast and accurate solution within the desired time limit. The evaluation is fast, reliable and accurate.


Less resources are required for the online exam compared to the pen paper test. Students can easily access the exam through the Internet, so no faculty and staff are required.


A physical campus, requirements for appropriate faculty and seating arrangements are all essential to in traditional methods of conducting examination.

Online exam also reduces the cost of stationary required to perform pen paper exam and the printing of tests and other materials required for conducting exam.

Evaluation process

In the case of pen paper exams, correcting the answer sheets and processing results is a huge task and is also error-prone.

Giving online test scores is an easier and time-saving advantage for educators over traditional test methods. The evaluation is fast, reliable and accurate. In an online assessment, the results are more accurate.

Question Paper security

In case of online examination, educators send mail to candidates and it will reach millions of registered candidates.

Online exams provide flexibility and security for question papers as each student can be asked random questions of the same exam pattern.

In case of traditional exam it is not possible to set different test papers for each student and there is a possibility that the test papers may leak while passing through different test centers.


The biggest advantage of online exam is its accessibility to students with disabilities. Computers can be customized for people with various physical disabilities.

Students with physical disabilities have limited access to the traditional exam methods. Getting to campus and writing the exams can be an obstacle for them.

Addition of multimedia

Online exams give you the option of adding videos, images, sound clips, PDFs, and more to your test items to enrich your content.

The simultaneous use of multimedia can make online exams more comprehensive for all types of candidates, such as more visual learners.­­­­

This is not possible in the traditional pen paper examinations.


In online exams, Internet connection has always been one of the main drawbacks. Lack of Connectivity or interruptions in internet connection can be a serious drawback for online exam. Student need to use Internet connection in the school lab or at home to be able to take online tests. Hence they are dependent on reliable internet connectivity service.

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