How to conduct exams or tests online for free

students-taking-examsThe year end exam is just around the corner. Students who haven’t been studying much fear the exam period the most as they try to do some last minute revisions. Teachers too have much to worry about when the exams are near as there are many things to plan and execute for an exam to be conducted successfully.

Basically both students and teachers have much work to do during the exam period. Photo by Michael Surran.

For examiners, they need to:

  • Develop the content for the exams
  • Type out everything into a Word document
  • Print out the exam sheets
  • Conduct and administer the exams
  • Tabulate the results for each student

For all teachers, is your learning institution considering ways on how to simplify and automate the management of exams or test?

If yes, today i’ll be recommending an open source computer based online exam management tool called TCExam for your school or learning center to conduct exams or tests online.

tcexam-logoTCExam is a free and open source web based (PHP, MySQL) computer based assessment / computer based testing system which allows educators to author, schedule, deliver, and report on surveys, quizzes, tests and exams.

I have given TCExam a try and found the following benefits:

  • By conducting tests and exams online, the cost for paper and printing can be saved.
  • Reduce the time it takes to generate all exam results.
  • Exam results are error free since all calculations are done in the computer.

But by conducting an online exam, the following are some challenges:

  • Students need to be provided access to a computer.
  • If the exam server is on the Internet, a good broadband connection is required to ensure exams can be taken smoothly.
  • A dilemma on whether to conduct a closed door or open door exam as the latter could lead to students referring to other for answers.

Whether or not the benefits of conducting online exams outweighs the challenges, that’s for you to decide.

Some key features of TCExam includes:

  • Manage modules, topics, questions and answers for the test
  • Create up to four different types of questions
  • User / student management
  • Tests management

The installation for TCExam was simple, as it was installed successfully on my XAMPP platform without any problems.

However, when trying to set up my first test / exam, I encountered some difficulty as I wasn’t really sure how to use the system. After hours of trying out TCExam, I finally decided that I should RTFM. This online manual provides a step by step instruction from creating users all the way to creating a simple test, after which I was convinced that TCExam works well and is worth recommending.

So if you need to conduct exams or tests online for free, consider setting up TCExam today.

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