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OPINION: Accessing my online exam should not be harder than my actual exam

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Examity is an online proctoring service the UA uses for online exams. 

"Main Gate, University of Arizona" by Ken Lund/Creative Commons (CC BY-SA 2.0

One of the most dreaded days of class is exam day. That last-minute study session the night before is always tough, as you quickly review every piece of the study guide because you are not sure what will be on the test and what will not be on the test. 

Once you arrive to your classroom, you settle in, have your pencils ready and begin your exam. If you know where your classroom is, the hardest part of the day is taking the exam.

That has not been the case recently. Since classes have moved online, taking an exam is a much more strenuous process that, at times, can be harder than the actual exam. 

At the University of Arizona, we use an online proctoring service called Examity. The primary purpose of Examity is for a proctor to watch you take your test to ensure you do not cheat. I have no problem with that; what I do have a problem with is the nonsensical steps one must take to begin their actual exam.

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The first step is to log onto the Examity website and connect with a proctor. This may sound simple, but sometimes it is not. You log on and must wait for them to show up. Your wait time can range from 15 minutes to over 45 minutes. I was left waiting so long one time I had to contact my professor and they had to get a hold of Examity because nobody was responding to me.

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If you are lucky enough to get ahold of someone, you then must go through a dragged-out process of being told what you can and cannot do. As a 26-year-old adult, I do not need to be told I am not allowed to talk or take my phone out during the exam. Plus, I am taking this test in my bedroom. Who am I going to talk to, my stuffed Mickey Mouse? 

Which brings me to my next point. If I am taking the exam in my room, why do I have to pick up my webcam and show the proctor my room? They say it is to ensure that nobody is around to give me answers. Does anybody think my 60-year-old father crawled under my bed four inches off the ground to tell me what the country’s tax rate was in 1913? I find this process to be silly and a waste of time.  

By the time you get to your test, your mind is not focused, and you are exhausted from the ridiculous process that it took to get there. At least you are taking your test and there are no more problems, right? 

Wrong. Technical difficulties with your Wi-Fi can lead to a poor connection or losing your proctor all together. When this happens, you risk getting a zero on your exam. I remember one time I tried accessing their “ask for help” tab to discuss what happened after the signal with my proctor dropped. Do you want to know how they got a hold of me? 

They called me, during my exam. “Wait a minute,” a reasonable person said. “Aren’t you not allowed to get out of your seat or use a phone during an exam?" So, they want to get a hold of you by breaking their own rules?

Exactly. There is no winning in this situation. If a statistic comes out one day about a drop in college exam scores during the pandemic, researchers may want to at least look into what percentage of those students had used Examity.


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Sean (he/him) is a business administration major from California. He enjoys playing video games and watching Disney+ in his free time. 


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UA COVID-19 Test Tracker

Daily (9/21)
993 29 2.9%
Total (8/2)
23,557 463 2.0%
Includes tests since August 2, 2021
Data from https://covid19.arizona.edu/updates
Updated September 22, 2021