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  • Nine Frequently Asked Questions by Students about an Online Finance Exam

    For a student who has not encountered an online exam before, you may not know where to begin when preparing for one. Where to access your exam, what you need to bring, whether notes are acceptable or not, and how to resume the exam when you are cut off are among the frequently asked questions by students. However, the most important thing about online exams is to prepare well beforehand. Like any other exam, ensure that you study and understand concepts beforehand and because the exam is online, ensure that you have a reliable internet connection.
    The following are 9 FAQs by students about online exams.

    Where can I access the online exam?

    You will access online exams through the institution's portal or various exam software available online. With the school portal, your log-in details usually consist of your registration number issued to you during admission or your university email. For online exam software, some will require you to register with an email or phone number where you will get notifications on available exams. Some platforms, however, generate unique codes of access or links that will be shared by your instructor or via the registered email. The code may be one-time, so ensure you only use it when ready.

    Most online exams will only be available on the portal or online platform with no option to download, which is a measure used to prevent cheating by students. Ensure that you have tested your log-in details beforehand to ensure that they work as required. Also, ensure that where needed, you have registered early so you can get the log-in information before attempting to log on to the exam. This is important as it will also test whether your device is acceptable by the system, and you can acquire one that will help you attempt the exam.

    What are the requirements for taking your exam?

    Like any other finance exam, you must study finance concepts and understand their application before the exam date. Do not assume it will be easier because the exam is online. Being that they are done online, ensure that you have access to a reliable internet connection to avoid interruption and to avoid pages that are not responsive. If the exam requires you to download an app to access the software for the exam, ensure that you do this beforehand. In cases where access is by a link, check that you can use it several times and click to ensure it works correctly.

    For finance exams, ensure that you carry a calculator so that you're able to tackle the mathematical problems presented on the paper. For instance, you will need a calculator for a paper requiring you to calculate say, the % return on equity based on debt, equity, and income figures provided. This is why it's crucial to understand how financial concepts can be applied in problem sets, i.e., so that you know what to bring to the exam. If it is a closed book exam, you can carry a rough paper on which you will be doing your calculations or rough drafts of your answers.

    Can I use my lecture notes and textbooks during the exam?

    This will depend on the requirements of your department and institution as a whole. Some will allow you to have your notes for reference, while others require you to handle an online exam like a closed book one. Always ensure that you read the instructions on the exam or inquire beforehand if this is acceptable to prevent cheating. Cheating can lead to the cancellation of your exam, give you a low grade or cause you to get a zero on the exam.

    If notes and textbooks are allowed, ensure that you carry summaries instead of whole textbooks. Most online exams will have a time limit, after which the exam ends immediately, which means that you do not have time to research, understand and relay your answer to the exam paper. Having summarized notes will allow you to answer all the asked questions and refer where necessary without wasting too much time perusing. Remember that most software will access your screen and webcam, which is how you can get caught cheating on the exam if it is a closed book one. Follow the guidelines provided.

    What kind of questions should I expect in an online exam?

    You can expect both knowledge-based and application questions for an online finance exam. Knowledge-based questions will test how well you can remember concepts taught in class, while application questions test how well you can apply the concepts to real-life scenarios. Knowledge-based questions will be in the format of multiple-choice questions (MCQs), short and long answers, and diagram-type questions. An example of a knowledge-based question in finance is: Explain the concept of the time value of money. This short answer question is the most common in online exams.

    For finance, you can also expect problem sets in the form of multiple-choice questions. For instance, a question can ask you to calculate the Net Present Value (NPV) from the figures given and choose the correct answer from the choices. Application-based questions in an online exam can be in the form of case studies. You are given a scenario and asked to apply a concept learned in finance to advise on the said scenario. An example would be a question asking you to recommend company A on the best capital budgeting method to use from the scenarios given. For ease of administration, most questions in an online exam will be short and to the point.

    How can I resume the exam if my internet or device cuts off?

    It is crucial to ensure that your device has enough charge and a reliable internet connection before you begin your online exam. However, if your internet or device cuts off in the middle of doing your exam, some software does allow you to relog on to the exam and resume where you left off. So, if this happens, try not to refresh the page once the connection is restored. Log back onto the exam portal or platform and click on resume exam. In cases where you cannot resume the exam once logged out, seek out your lecturer to ensure that your marks are not registered as incomplete on the system. Ensure that you give exact details of the technical problem you encountered for them to be more helpful.

    Some portals and platforms usually allow for several retakes, which means that if you are logged out and cannot resume from where you left off, you can click on the retake button and start again. One thing to note is that to prevent cheating; some platforms may reshuffle exam questions each time a student logs in. Therefore, ensure that as you put down your answers, you can remember them in case this happens. Do not just log back in and start answering from what you crammed question 1 to be. Instead, read the question carefully to determine if the order has changed.

    How does having a word and time limit affect my online exam?

    A word limit on your exam can either mean that your answer should not exceed a certain number of words or, in the case of long-form questions, that your response should not be below the stated number of words. For instance, a finance question can ask you to define a bond's par value. However, the space left for the answer only accommodates 12 words. How this affects your exam is that you will have to write the meaning of the par value of a bond without exceeding the word limit and while retaining its meaning.

    What this means for you as the student is that you have to understand the core meaning of finance concepts and be able to manipulate your answers to fit the limit. For long-form questions, for instance, you are asked to discuss the Capital Asset Pricing Model with a limit of 250 words. This means you will have to have understood beforehand what the concept is, its assumptions, and its application so that you can meet the word count. A time limit on your exam measures how fast you can remember the concepts taught, mainly for short-form questions. It also means that your exam will end automatically once the set limit is finished. Practicing often will help you beat the time limit.

    What is the process for submitting my answers?

    Submitting answers to an online exam is a straightforward process. Typically, each section or page where you click or write your answer is usually saved beforehand. What you have to do at the end of the session is to confirm and click on the submit button. One thing worth noting here is that some exams may prevent you from moving back and forth between sections. This means that once you have moved on from section A of the exam, you cannot go back to check or correct your answers. Always ensure that you are one section or page before moving to the next.

    On some platforms or portals, the exam will require you to upload your answers in the form of files. Take care to only upload the type of file required, that is, pdf, Docx, jpg, etc. Having the wrong type means that your answers may not be uploaded, and you may fail your finance exam. For instance, you may be asked to upload the workings you have done for a mathematical problem on calculating the dividend price. For all your answers, always ensure you click on submit or the finish button before logging out of your online exam.

    How will the instructor know if I cheat in the exam?

    With the latest technological improvements, online exam platforms allow the instructor to invigilate the exam online. Do not cheat just because you are doing the exam away from the classroom. Most platforms will record your audio, screen, and webcam and store the footage for the instructor to check in case of any suspicious activity. There are also several proctoring resources on the platforms to ensure that students do not engage in cheating.

    These resources include screen locks, which prevent you from moving to another tab during the exam, keyboard shortcut locks, and flagging your exam in case you move away from the exam tab, among others. Other platforms restrict copy-pasting, while others randomize the questions. Unless it is an open book exam, ensure that you do not have any unauthorized materials like notes, recordings, and books when doing your online exam. Always ensure that you have studied and understood the concepts beforehand to ensure that you can answer even the application questions in the exam.

    How do I know my grade from the exam?

    Most online platforms used to conduct exams will automatically grade your paper once you click on the finish or submit button. That way, you can see the results of your exam right away. School portals may also employ the same technique, or they will upload your results to the portal once marking has taken place. Depending on the grading system used, this can be in a few days. For platforms where you have to register, the email and phone number you input is used to send you the grade from your exam. This can also be automatic or take some time, depending on the grading system used.

    Written exams like application and long answer questions will typically take longer to grade compared to MCQs and short answers questions which can be graded immediately by the system. Allow your instructor time to grade and send back the results. Also, some platforms may allow you to download your results and even get certification in the finance unit if you pass. Always be on the lookout for that.


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