Taking Online Exams

You may have never taken an online exam before, or you could only be familiar with short quizzes. While much of your study will be the same, your preparation leading up to the exam will be very different as you substitute pens and pencils for a computer with a stable internet connection.

We've assembled some tips to help you get set up to complete your exam successfully, achieve a great result, and spend your time focused on the content, not the technology.

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Plan to have quiet time

Plan with your family and housemates to have quiet time for your online exam. Create an exam schedule and stick it up on your fridge for everyone to see.

Technology set up

Use the same computer and set up for all your at-home exams. If you have a Respondus Exam, visit the downloading and using Respondus guide.

If you have technology difficulties during the practise exam contact IT Help Desk for help setting up well before the exam starts. If you have technical issues on the day, contact your college exam support team (found in the bottom tab 'Emails - College exam support team').

Set up your space

Set up the space you intend to sit your exam prior to the actual exam time. Factor in ways to reduce noise, set up furniture to support your posture and set the temperature for comfort. Studying in this space before you take the exam will help you remember the material on a deeper level.

Dress for exam success

Dressing for success is different for everyone. Dress in comfortable clothing that will help you focus better. Remember that for some exams you will need to have your camera on, so ensure you are dressed professionally.

Sleep and movement

Getting enough sleep will improve your performance. Just before you go to sleep go over your study notes. Your brain will continue working on the content as you sleep. Take breaks and include physical exercise for increased cognition.


Create a schedule for the time you have been allotted for each exam. For longer take home exams ensure you are working on the exam at the time of day that works best for you. Let everyone know you will be unavailable during the exam time.

Preparation is key

Whether you have a take home exam, closed exam or online exam preparation is key. A take home exam, access to notes or an extended period of time doesn't necessarily mean you will know more or perform better. Mastery of your topic will.


Ensure you can answer the following: What are the rules for the exam? Can you reach out to your lecturer/tutor or support service? Do you have to upload images for the exam or print out the exam?

preparing for exams at home print out.

Read exam guidelines

Will the test take place at a specific date and time, or can you take the exam at any point during a particular window of time? How much time will you have to complete the test? Can you take the test at home, or must you take the exam in a specific location? Are you your required to install software to enable the Respondus Lockdown Browser and use it to complete any LearnJCU tests that require it?

Know the exam format

Are you required to complete multiple-choice, fill-in, short answer, essay question? Or a combination? Each format requires different skills. Visit the JCU Learning Centre webpage to learn how to prepare for different exam questions.

Test yourself

If a practice test has been made available to you, take it! You can also search for past exams here.You can also test yourself by making your own test questions, setting the clock and using the technology you would in the exam to reduce stress and boost confidence. Plan out the time it will take to answer each question.

Check your computer

Whether you are using your own device at home or bringing your own device to a bookable room on campus for your online exam, it is important to ensure your device is fully charged and that you have access to a power point.

Check your computer has the necessary hardware and software necessary to complete your exam online. Ensure you take your exam in a location with an adequate Internet connection.

Study the materials

It is never too early in the semester to create a study plan. If you can begin this on a weekly basis and even if it is an open book exam prepare as if it were face-to-face. Pack an exam kit well before the exam so you are ready.

Create a calm space

Exams are always stressful and it is important to reduce all distractions. Turn off all notifications, practise in the actual test location so you can minimise interruptions and get comfortable with the space. Noise cancelling headphones and turning your phone to silent is always a good idea.

Before proceeding with the following troubleshooting, please take screenshots or photos to keep a record of the incident and your work at the time.

I can't see or launch the required exam

  • Are you using CHROME to access your exam?
  • Refresh screen (press F5)
  • Try closing the browser and re-entering
  • Use the same equipment and conditions as you used for the practice (Respondus exams only)
  • Has the exam allocated availability window lapsed? For formal examinations email exams@jcu.edu.au. On course/mid-term exams email your Subject Coordinator.

I started the exam, but the internet has failed and I was removed from the exam

  • Try to re-access exam. LearnJCU will usually allow re-entry in the case of unstable internet connection
  • Are you on Wi-Fi? If so, move closer to Wi-Fi router
  • Refresh screen (press F5) or try closing browser and re-entering
  • Restart computer, re-access exam and continue

I can't see an image or specific issues with particular questions

  • For formal examinations email exams@jcu.edu.au. On course/mid-term exams email your Subject Coordinator. Continue with exam and answer to the best of your ability.

My computer crashed, I can't get back into the exam

  • For formal examinations email exams@jcu.edu.au. On course/mid-term exams email your Subject Coordinator.

Online LearnJCU exam: I can not upload hardcopy/graph/working out

Try these instructions:

Online LearnJCU exam or assignment exam: I can not upload my exam paper!

  • Save your exam paper to USB or your desktop before uploading.

Error message: "Oh no your name is not on the list"

  • For formal examinations email exams@jcu.edu.au. On course/mid-term exams email your Subject Coordinator.

Submission screen has frozen


  • Each answer is saved by LearnJCU as they are entered in a test. As you work through the test, watch the saved answer notification at the bottom of screen.


  • Are you on Wi-Fi? If so, move closer to Wi-Fi router
  • Test the internet connection by clicking in and out of answer boxes to save existing answers
  • Keystrokes are delayed, move closer to Wi-Fi router, if that does not solve the issue then email your college exam support team
  • Reconnect to the internet.

The answer fields are greyed out

  • Try refreshing your browser. Refresh screen (press F5).
  • If refreshing your browser does not work, email your college exam support team.

A blank screen or error message: 'data not visible/ you have unanswered questions' appears

  • For formal examinations email exams@jcu.edu.au. On course/mid-term exams email your Subject Coordinator.

LearnJCU test does not update

  • For formal examinations email exams@jcu.edu.au. On course/mid-term exams email your Subject Coordinator.

    For further technical assistance please email exams@jcu.edu.au ensuring you include the following information:

  • Subject code
  • Student ID
  • Contact number
  • Brief overview of issue
  • Email contact is important so that we have a date/time stamp of your reported issue, which may be used as support evidence if required.

    Email: exams@jcu.edu.au(preferred contact method)

    Tel: 4781 4246

  • Did you have any technical difficulties in any exams in your previous study period?
  • Do any desktop or web-based programs display warning messages related to slow or intermittent network connectivity?
  • Does your computer experience delays between typing and text displaying on the screen?
  • Do documents or tests in LearnJCU take significantly longer to load (when compared to using a JCU lab computer or network connection)?
  • Does your internet connection drop out or experience slowdown during Collaborate or other online videoconferencing sessions?
  • Do you commonly experience freezing or buffering when streaming videos such as lecture presentations or Youtube videos?
  • Are other devices present in your home location that require the use of your network connection?
  • Are you unable to complete a environment scan video (for Respondus with Monitor exams only) because your webcam is built into your monitor?

If these apply to you, you can request an on-campus space to undertake exam(s) due to special circumstances.

Applications are open - check the Seats on Campus webpage for availability