Banner

Emond Exam Prep: Virtual Bar Exam Diaries: How to Prepare for Remote Licensing Exams

Presenting the Virtual Bar Exam Diaries: A series specifically written for students, by students. Each article outlines the author’s personal experience writing the Ontario Licensing exam virtually, and is full of insights and advice. Learn from their experiences and write the exam with greater confidence.

 

Getting Yourself Ready for Writing Exams Remotely

Writing exams remotely may seem stressful at first because it brings a new list of things to consider and of the potential issues that can arise. Taking the time to prepare your space and familiarize yourself with the process can help reduce the stress and avoid last-minute troubleshooting.

Technology issues can arise, and sometimes these issues are beyond your control. Students who have experienced technology issues have said the proctors were very helpful and understanding, pausing the time or delaying the start of the exam until everything was running properly. However, you should still take steps in advance to prepare so you can avoid unnecessary issues.

Things you should do a week or two before the exam:

      • Download the required software and check the Wi-Fi requirements. Ensure the area where you plan to write the exam has a reliable Internet connection—with remote proctoring, you may not be able to use tethering or a “hotspot.”
      • Make sure you have everything on the list of things you may need for remote proctoring.
      • Talk to your family, roommates, partners, etc. about limiting Wi-Fi use while you are writing your exam.

 

Tips for Exam Software

Writing an exam by computer rather than on paper is different, and it is worthwhile to take the time to understand what features will be available on the exam software. This information will be made available to you in advance of the exam. There will also be a practice module on the software that you should try. Don’t assume you will or won’t be able to do something. Features to check include whether you can:

      • Access files or the Internet, or if the software locks down your computer.
      • Highlight, underline, or strike out text in the questions and/or answers.
      • Bookmark questions and/or filter for bookmarked questions.
      • Write notes by hand or utilize a note-taking feature.
      • Use other exam software features such as a built-in timer, calculator, etc.

 

Tips for Remote Proctoring

There are different types of remote proctoring. Familiarize yourself with the process, and make sure you have all the necessary devices and accessories. It is common to require two devices with cameras: a computer and a cellphone. Check for any support that may be available if you don’t have the necessary equipment or space. Any requests for support will likely need to be made well in advance of the test.

Things you may need for remote proctoring:

      • A cellphone with a working camera that can receive text messages.
      • A working webcam on your computer.
      • Charging cords and outlet space for both your computer and cellphone—do not rely on plugging your cellphone into your computer because you will need to place your cellphone apart from your writing space to allow the proctor to see you.
      • Extension cord(s)—the proctor may ask you to move your computer and/or cellphone around.
      • A stand or something to prop the cellphone up—you can use household items such as books, candles, planters, etc.
      • If your modem is close enough, you may want to have an ethernet cable handy.

 

Getting Yourself Ready the Day Before

The day before the exam should be a rest or light study day. Cramming last minute will only add to your stress, and you are unlikely to retain anything new. Instead, use the time to relax and plan for the following day. Setting up your writing space the day before will not only save time on exam day but will allow you to stay focused on the task at hand: passing the exam!

Day before the exam:

      • Prepare your writing space—only authorized items will be allowed on, under, and near your desk, so clear everything else away. Set up your computer and cellphone stand, keeping in mind the “things you may need for remote proctoring” document.
      • Organize your authorized items—have your identification, water container, tissues, etc. ready and in acceptable containers.
      • Plan what you would like to do on your break—you may want to meditate, go for a short walk, stretch, have something to eat or drink, etc.

 

Keep the Benefits in Mind

Writing exams remotely may not be ideal for you, but remember there are a lot of benefits: no commute, a more controlled environment, and no bubbling in answers by hand. Preparing for remote exams and keeping these benefits in mind will help set you up for success on exam day!

 

Written by: Eris Ritcey

UPCOMING ONTARIO BAR EXAMS DATES


Barrister Exam: June 1-4 and 8-11, 2021  |  Solicitor Exam: June 22–25 and June 29-July 2, 2021