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5 ways to Cheat on Online Exams with Proctoring

7 Jun, 2022

We live in a highly changing and tech-led world, and today, online education has rapidly evolved in almost every aspect: Zoom calls, Google Hangouts, MOOCs, online conferences, online tests and exams. Switching to a remote setting can mean greater freedom and a better chance of finding shortcuts to get exceptional exam results, right?

Institutions and organizations cannot afford to hire a proctor per student to ensure maximum security, even for high-stake examinations. So, how is it possible to cheat during an online exam, and how easy is it without getting caught?

Let’s take a closer look at the most common methods that a test taker could use to get around the rules of the exam.


  1. Cheating on Proctored Exams: The Old-School Method
  2. Cheating on Proctored Exams: The Rage Against the Machine Method
  3. Cheating on Proctored Exams: The Operation Hydration Method
  4. Cheating on Proctored Exams: The UnderCover Method
  5. Cheating on Proctored Exams: The Partner-in-crime Method

1. Cheating on Proctored Exams: The Old-School Method

Many students do not realize how advanced online proctoring really is. Some still use the “old-school” methods of cheating. As with regular in-class exams, students can cheat by writing notes on paper, palms, or forearms. What they do not realize is that online proctors pay close attention to the students’ environment. AI-automated remote exam proctoring solutions now use facial recognition and detection technology that not only verifies student identities but also detects movements within the environment, for example, when test-takers leave the area, move around, or simply turn their head. These movements are all flagged as potential concerns for faculty. Even if the exam surveillance is fully automated, such as one of the proctoring options with Alemira Proctor, any potential violations are automatically reported and categorized as low, medium, or high risk. A human proctor can then review the report and either dismiss the violation or raise it to the organization.

2. Cheating on Proctored Exams: The Rage Against the Machine Method

On the other hand, there are many tech-savvy test-takers trying to use devices to cheat. Cellphones, smartwatches, earbuds, you name it, they have tried it! It is always impressive to see how creative students can get when it comes to cheating on online exams. The Alemira Proctor’s camera works both ways and can detect other technologies in use by the student.

Okay, perhaps if a separate piece of technology is used the student will not get caught? Nice try!  Alemira’s live proctors can differentiate between a student typing an answer and a student trying to take a screenshot.

3. Cheating on Proctored Exams: The Operation Hydration Method

Education is important, as is staying hydrated. Some exams take longer than others, and proctors may allow students to bring their own bottles of water. Water bottles may seem innocent, but not when they are used by skilled cheaters! Some students manage to turn the lid of the bottle into a cheat sheet. This method might have known success in the classroom as only one or two supervisors cannot watch every student equally at all times. Unfortunately, for online exam takers, this will not work. Alemira Proctor has a gaze detection feature that flags the situation when a student continues to look at a particular spot for a long time or too often (in this case, at the bottle).

4. Cheating on Proctored Exams: The UnderCover Method

Many might think that taking an exam from the comfort of their home might be a great way to cheat on an online exam. Furniture such as closets, desks, chairs and beds could all serve as great tools for people trying to cheat the system. Walls and curtains could make for the perfect whiteboard holding an extensive number of answers.

Unfortunately, Alemira Proctor asks students to do a full environmental scan prior to the exam. Any additional objects or suspected “examination aids” could be examined more closely and may be requested to be removed.

5. Cheating on Proctored Exams: The Partner-in-crime Method

Good friends are a blessing. They really want us to be successful in life, especially during important exams, which can sometimes determine our life course. With refined and discreet wearable technology, it would be easy to think that using technical assistance such as calls, messaging systems, or even the use of Bluetooth headsets could facilitate communication during online exams. Unfortunately, again, the Alemira Proctor solution uses webcam technology that can immediately identify such devices. In addition, online proctoring has high-quality live audio detection and automated monitoring to report suspicious sounds on the spot.

In conclusion, there is always a way to cheat on an exam, whether in person or online. Innovation never stops. However, there is one foolproof way not to get caught cheating, and that is to simply not do it. You are more likely to pass the exam that way than running the risk of getting caught and failing and potentially facing some severe consequences.

Our best advice is preparation. Study and prepare for your remote exam by learning how remote proctoring works and the do’s and don’ts of an online proctoring exam. With this advice, we can guarantee you that you are putting all chances on your side to succeed.

In the meantime, if you find any interesting ways to cheat on proctored exams, feel free to share with us on Facebook or Twitter.

We wish you the best of luck!

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