How to organize a course online exam?

Before the Exam:

As students are not experienced with an online exam and neither we (instructors), plan the exam in advance. Check the university website for different details such as software to be used, the limit for physical meetings, declaration forms for the online exams.

General information about the exam:

Inform students in advance about the online medium by which the exam will take place, syllabus for the exam, open book or closed book exam. In case of an open book, inform what study material they are allowed to use. If the exam will be more theoretical or practical, and to what extent they have to write code snippets and how strict we are about syntax.

Given below is the template to notify the students about.

Format: Written exam using Zoom, Closed-book.

Help Material: No helping material except an English dictionary

Submission: By email

Date&Time: Wednesday, June 3 @ 10h00 - 12h00

Duration: Two sessions of approximately 40 minutes each, the total duration of 120 mins

Language: Exam subjects are in English

Required: Phone and Desktop/Laptop with a video camera, speakers, A4 size papers, and pens

Software: Zoom, Pdf reader, University email account should be configured in the phone and laptop

Answer Format: Handwritten on the paper

How to Send answers: To your call group’s email address. the subject format: P2Exam-’’---. Send your answers also via post within a week.

Exam structure checklist

  • Divide the exam into multiple appropriate sessions. Each session should have different sub-sessions such as “Clarification of questions”,” Answering the questions”, “Submitting the answers”, and “Verifying received submissions”. The Exam questions (pdf) will be sent to students via Zoom chat.
  • Due to a limited number of people views in a gallery view of a zoom call, you might have to organize multiple zoom calls (call groups).
  • Assign students to the call groups and get an email account from Peppo for each call group so that you have all answers in the specific mailbox.
  • Add all assistants in the mailbox to facilitate the parallelization of the submission’s verification.
  • To submit the answers, students should take pictures of their answer sheets using their phone camera and submit those pictures to an email address (set up especially for the exam). Ask students to check the quality of the photos before sending them. As an email subject the following format P2Exam--- should be used. So, for example, P2Exam-John-Doe-Session1 or P2Exam-Jane-Doe-Session2. Students are obliged to send the answers from their university email account.
  • Ask them to position their camera in a way that you should see a student’s hands and the table/office where he/she write the answers.
  • Prepare the self-declaration form (Selbständigkeitserklärung). Sign and send us the self-declaration of independence before the exam in the subject format "[P2Exam][DeclarationOfConsent]--".
  • Organise the mockup exam.
  • The student email address from the university limits the size of data attached to an email to 20MB. Make sure you verify the limitations beforehand.
  • Prepare the backup cases for the exam such as in case of technical issues, for example, if Zoom does not work, continue the exam with other platforms as the piazza, otherwise email. If even email server does not respond for a reason, continue the exam offline and submit the answers on the time via email.
  • Video and sound recordings are not allowed for students or lecturers during exams.

Exam preparation lecture:

Ideally, two weeks before and maximum one week before, organise an exam preparation session where you have sample exam questions. This session should be a very interactive session where you encourage students to solve questions and discuss their solution about what is expected and what is not expected. The sample questions should not be dummy questions. Organise this session via the same platform (zoom) which you plan to use for the final exam. This session can make students familiar with the platform. Students should set up their zoom account using @students.unibe email address

Mockup Exam:

  • One week before the exam, organise a mock-up exam session to test the whole setup with the students.
  • Prepare the zoom meeting similar to the exam call. Enable waiting room facility in the call. Verify the number of students visible in the gallery view of the zoom call. This would help in deciding how many calls you should organize for the final exam. Generally, you can see 25 students at one time in the gallery view. If you have more than 25 students, try to have multiple calls instead of one call.
  • Assign the students in different call groups. According to a call group, prepare an email account (ask Peppo for a new email account) like, for the final exam.
  • In the mockup exam, prepare the sample questions and repeat the exam sessions in the most similar way, thus testing the whole setup.
  • Collect all the questions asked during the mockup session, compose a piazza post or an email and share with all students. It helps them to have a checklist and point to remember for the final exam.

During the exam:

  • Setup multiple desktops before the exam to hold the different zoom calls. Start the zoom call half an hour before. This would give you enough time to verify each student waiting to join the call (in the zoom waiting room) from the KSL registration lists.
  • For two call groups, you should at least have two people responsible for the call and two assistants available for the verification of the submissions parallelly.
  • Do not block any student’s request by mistake as once you block the student, you can not add them back until you organise a new call.
  • Before accepting a student in the call we should check that if he/she is registered for the exam on KLS. After accepting them in the call, make sure their camera is located in the mentioned position.
  • Once verified all the students, share the presentation screen where they are provided with all session details. Describe the sub-sessions.
  • Send the questions pdf via zoom chat, and start the timer for the first sub-session ( questions clarification) of the first session. The students can print the exam during this session and should ask the questions via zoom chat. Once this sub-session is over, start the next sub-session “ answering the questions". Monitor students closely during this session. Inform the student for any suspicious activity.
  • After this sub-session, ask students to stop writing. The students should click the pictures of their answers and send the answers from their university email account to our exam email address with the specific format. Give students a 15 min break. Meanwhile, you verify the received answers to make sure they are readable. In case they are not, you should contact them and ask them to send again. All boundaries of the paper should be in the image and every question should ideally start from a new page, it makes the verification faster.
  • Once you have received and verified all the emails, start the next session and repeat the same procedure of sub-sessions.
  • After finishing all the planned sessions, make sure all students have sent their solutions and remind them to send the exam via post.
  • Disconnect the call and take a deep breath.

After the Exam:

  • Group all the answer sheet images of all sub-sessions from a student in a different folder. Upload each folder on the google drive or any shared platform. Ask assistants to verify it to make sure that you do not miss any images.
  • Planned the corrections at least after one week, if you want to correct physical exams and not online versions. It generally takes 8 days to get all the posts. During the corrections, verify the physical exams with the online images to make sure students do not send extra sheets or modified versions of the answers.


  1. Know the support emails/contact numbers of various online services (zoom) and university support (
  2. Ask students to use their unibe email account address to send any exam related documents.
  3. Make sure the limit of email attachments.
  4. Get the recent self-declaration form.
  5. Communicate early enough with students.
Last changed by admin on 21 April 2009