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From paper to online exams

The Covid-19 pandemic saw exams cancelled across the globe; it caused turmoil for institutions and uncertainty for students about when or even if they’ll be able to take the exams they’ve worked hard for.

This led to many institutions accelerating their plans for online exams and we saw drastic growth in enquiries and demand for our eSystem exam software. Many customers who came onboard during the pandemic, have continued with online exams permenantly. However, we know that for many, making the change from paper to online exams is an ambition that is yet to be realised.

Here we examine why we think now is the right time to make the move.

Greater internal receptivity

Gaining internal buy-in is a challenge we often hear from prospective clients. It’s understandable, (especially when there are processes in place that work), why there’s a reluctance to change. The pandemic highlighted that there are situations where it is difficult or impossible to run paper exams. This has resulted in increased desire for there to be solutions in place to overcome these challenges and minimise disruption, even if it is just from a business continuity perspective. In turn, it’s likely,  that internal teams will be more receptive to learning about the options for online/remote exams and online exam management systems.

Bring your own device works

Pre-Covid, many institutions choose to invest in hardware to provide to students to take online exams. Additionally, the hire of large, (often expensive) exam halls or venues was commonplace. This was a commonly cited barrier to online exams due to the high cost of providing hardware and hiring venues. During the pandemic, social distancing made this option unfeasible. So, many turned to bring your own device (BYOD) where students take exams on their own devices,as a solution. This proved to be incredibly successful, with exams being completed in multiple locations simultaneously. Read our Aga Khan case study for one example of this.

Exam security & proctoring

The security and integrity of your exams are of course, paramount. There are numerous features within our eSystem software that assist in running secure online exams, for example, the secure exam feature. When an exam is taken using the secure exam browser, candidates are unable to access anything on the device other than the exam itself. It completely locks down the device and prohibits access to documents, files or web browsers whilst the exam is in progress.

Alternatively, if you prefer a proctoring solution then this is possible too since our eSystem is compatible with proctoring software. So, if you’re looking to use proctoring services and run remote online exams with eSystem contact us.

 Be running online exams in weeks

There is a common misconception that making the move to online exams will be a long and labourious process. This doesn’t have to be the case. We’re committed to getting you up and running as soon as possible. Depending on how quickly things can move from your end, this could be a matter of weeks. So, you could be in a position to run high-stakes, online exams sooner than you think.

Our customers have a proven track record of this. The new Medical School at Anglia Ruskin University decided to use the eSystem at the end of March. They were ready to run their first exams in June. In terms of the timeline, they had their install and training in April, after which they quickly created their MMI exams. The applicants to the Medical School took the exams in June and ARU were able to identify successful candidates for their first cohort of medical students to start in September. All went smoothly and ARU is delighted with the system. Read the full case study here.

With regards to hosting, you can choose what’s right for your organisation, either cloud hosting or self-hosting. The eSystem is available to purchase as a software as a service (SaaS) solution. This allows you to operate the software entirely from the cloud on a recurring annual subscription basis. Choosing the cloud-hosted route means we’ll make setting you up with the eSystem our focus. Plus, cloud hosting is likely to be the quickest way to get your online exams running. Read our article on the benefits of cloud hosting for further information.

Benefit from an advanced exam management system

There are many further benefits that the eSystem exam management system will give you.

The sophisticated question bank provides a streamlined question writing and storage solution. As well as the functionality to allocate questions into groups or learning outcomes. Additionally, it’s possible to author questions directly in the bank remotely, from any location. Bringing further benefits of a streamlined question authoring process to your team.

Plus, functions such as exam blueprinting and statistical analysis provide valuable insights for the ongoing improvement of your exams.

When it comes to the ever-important student feedback, it’s available at the touch of a button with the eSystem. The candidate feedback tool allows you to provide timely, personalised and detailed feedback to students online. Students simply log-in and view their feedback at a time and place to suit them.

Free trial – Compatible with paper exams

The Covid-19 pandemic had a profound impact on the educational landscape, not just for exams, but for e-learning in general. It catalysed widespread adoption and revolutionised the way we learn. It’s also proven to be a cost-effective alternative in many circumstances. Online exams form just a small part of the e-learning landscape. Read more about the wider benefits in this article: Benefits of e-learning for employees. Embracing e-learning can give many benefits, including time savings, increased flexibility and greater insight. Ultimately helping you improve in the future.

We recognise that budgets are often stretched. So we’re always happy to offer a free no-obligation trial for anyone who is looking to try online exams. And, since the eSystem is compatible with paper exams, it’s easy to run online and paper exams and still get all of the benefits of an advanced question bank and exam management system. Although once you’ve run online exams with eSystem you may not want to!

Get in touch

To find out more about our eSystem, running secure online exams remotely, or how we can assist you, contact us. Call our sales team on +44 (0) 1223 851703 or email

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