Online Assessment Top Tips

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These 10 tips for preparing for and taking online exams and assessments have been compiled as a collaboration between Maynooth Students’ Union and the MU Office of the Dean of Teaching and Learning

1. Familiarise yourself with the exam timetable and associated procedures.  

  • Check the Exam timetable regularly, as exam dates and times may be subject to changes. Note that timed exams won’t always start on the hour, so check, and double-check, start times!  

  • Read carefully the University guidance document Assessment during COVID-19 restrictions - Information for students. Departments will provide you with specific information about assessments relevant to your modules, so check Moodle and your University email account regularly. 

  • If you are registered with the Disability Office and are allowed additional time in exams, you will also be given extra time in timed exams. If you have other exam accommodations, please contact the Disability Office to discuss whether they can be provided in a remote exam. 

2. Know the types of online exams and assessments you will be asked to complete: 

  • Timed exams are exams you do at a set time. Treat these like any other exam, and don’t refer to external sources except where specifically allowed.  

  • Take-home exams are assessments that you complete over a set timeframe. You can generally refer to readings and notes; the exam instructions will detail any exceptions. 

  • Assignments are tasks to be submitted by a set date. If there are specific restrictions on the use of external sources then these will be included in the instructions.  

3. Understand how to access online exams and assessments.  

  • Moodle will be the main platform for posting and submitting exams and assessment, so make sure you are familiar with Moodle, and check that you have access to the correct Moodle page for each exam you will be taking! 

  • Depending on your department, there may be separate new Moodle courses for your exams and assessments.  These will be prefaced with an “E” and will appear in the ‘Current’ tab in your Moodle “My courses” block. 

4. Regularise your routine and manage your time effectively.   

  • Try to get into a regular studying, eating and sleeping pattern, and be sure to build in regular breaks.  

  • You won’t have more than one timed exam scheduled at the same time, but you may have two or more assignments or take-home exams due for submission within the same timeframe.  If this is the case, then plan ahead and manage your time carefully.   

5. Get to grips with online submission formats.  

  • Ensure that you are familiar with the word processing software on your computer. Remember to save copies during any long assessment, to avoid the risk of losing your work. 

  • If you hand-write your exams then they will need to be scanned or photographed before submitting; decide in advance how you will do this and try it out beforehand. If you have access to a scanner, then you that. Alternatively, you can use the Microsoft OneDrive mobile app on a smartphone to scan and share printed documents.  

  • If you are not familiar with Turnitin then you can use your Turnitin Self-Check space (accessible via your "My Courses" block in Moodle) to practice submitting a Turnitin submission.  

  • Click Submit! A Moodle Assignment submission status remains as a draft until you click the Submit Assignment button.  Remember to click this button when you are ready to submit.  

6. Organise your personal exam hall.  

  • Decide where you will complete timed exams and work on take-home exams and assignments.  Find a quiet space where you can focus and will not be interrupted, and let the other members of your household know when and where you will be taking exams. Place a 'do not disturb’ notice on the door if you need to!  

  • Ensure that you gather all the permitted resources that you might require before you begin (pen, paper, calculator, dictionaries etc). Have a glass of water to hand as well.  

  • Make sure you can see a clock for timed exams.  

  • Switch off your phone or put it in flight mode. 

7. Prep your tech.  

  • If you are using a laptop or mobile device then make sure it is fully charged

  • Ensure you have recently updated your device so it does not suddenly decide to update during an exam.  

  • Make sure that you have access to a reliable Internet connection, particularly during timed exams.  

  • If you are sharing the connection with others then you may need to ask them to refrain from video conferencing or video streaming when you are competing or submitting an exam or assessment.  

  •  If you are accessing the internet through a mobile phone network then turn off apps that connect to the network, so that you can get the fastest connection.  

8. During the exam.  

  • Log in to the Moodle exam page in advance of the exam start time and find the link to the exam or assessment. The exam paper or assignment will become available via this link at the exam or assignment start time.   

  • Treat online exams and assessments as if they were conventional exams: Read the questions carefully!  You have a set amount of time for a reason, use it; it is not advisable to submit online exams early just because you are finished.    

9. Academic Integrity.  

  • Your online exams and assignments will generally be unsupervised, but don’t be tempted to cheat, or to collude with others

  • It is essential that the work you submit is your own.  Like all university exams, online assessments and exams are subject to the University’s exam regulations, plagiarism policy and all other student regulations.  A breach of examination rules is a serious issue and can incur penalties. 

10. If you run into technical difficulties.  

  • Don’t panic! Revert to an alternative technology if you can.  

  • If you have problems accessing Moodle or downloading an exam/assignment, then check your MU email account. Your department will email the exam and associated instructions to you at the exam start time. 

  • If you have problems submitting an exam or assignment and are unable to submit on time, then submit it as soon as you can (the Moodle assignment will accept late submissions) and email your lecturer to explain. If you are unable to upload your assignment via  Moodle, then you can submit it by email, by replying to the email received at the beginning of the exam, attaching your completed work.   

  • If you have technical issues during the exam then you should email the Moodle Support and IT Services teams at Include your name, student number, module code and contact phone number in your email. 

Best wishes in all of your exams and assessments!

If you need to talk to someone you can reach your Student Officers by email:
Julian, MSU Vice President for Education -
Ciarán, MSU Vice President for Welfare & Equality -


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