O.3 What is a proctored exam?

Proctored Exams Section

Some of our online STAT courses have exams that are proctored. Why a proctor? The proctor's role is to monitor the exam environment to ensure the academic integrity of the exam process on behalf of Penn State and the Department of Statistics. 

Proctoring Process using Examity

First, it will be helpful to review this video from Examity. It will provide you with a good overview of how the proctoring process works and why it is important.

In general, students will work through the Examity® Dashboard in order to:

  • Develop an identification profile which includes uploading a picture identification card, security questions and keystroke analysis,
  • Run a computer requirements check,
  • Schedule to take an exam, and then
  • Login at the scheduled time to take the exam under the supervision of a professional proctor from Examity®.
Please Note! Examity will charge a $3 fee to any student who schedules or reschedules an exam less than 24 hours in advance of the exam window.
Examity Profiles

Students will not be able to pass the authentication process unless their Examity profile is complete. All profile images must be of a government issued photo ID or a student photo ID. Your Penn State ID card is suitable only if it contains a photo. Selfies are unacceptable.

Acceptable and unacceptable types of ID

By the way, creating your profile in Examity need only be completed once. If you are taking multiple courses, or courses in a future semester that use Examity you are all set!


Having logged into the Examity® dashboard to take an exam, the Examity® proctor walks the student through the identification process, reviews any exam rules and then enters the passcode for the student into Canvas. Once the exam is opened the student takes the exam in Canvas. During the exam the student and the exam environment is monitored by the Examity® proctor.

Once the exam is proctored and audited by Examity®, the recording along with detailed notes about the exam become available for review on the Instructor dashboard.

Students are strongly encouraged to review the Examity® Student QuickStart Guide which provides specific instructions with relevant screen shots of the entire proctoring process.

Examity® System Requirements Section

Examity system requirements are:

  • Desktop computer or laptop (tablets, Chromebook and cell phones do not meet our requirements)
  • Webcam and microphone (built-in or external)
  • Connection to network with sufficient internet speed: at least 2 Mbps download speed and 2 Mbps upload.Hot spots are not recommended.Test internet speed at: https://www.speedtest.net/
  • Browser (Chrome or Firefox) with pop-up blocker disabled.

Use this Examity System Check to determine if your computer is ready:

Examity Computer Readiness Check

Reaching Examity® Support. All day and all of the night.

Phone: 855-392-6489
Email: support@examity.com
Live Chat: Click on the live chat link located at the top and bottom of your Examity® portal.

About Examity® and Examity Proctors

Examity as a whole aligns with The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). This is a federal law that protects the privacy of student education records. Penn State and Examity® take the way data is handled and the protection of student information very seriously. In fact, Examity has a FERPA attorney on their advisory board.

Examity®’s proctors go through a rigorous process of selection and interviewing by a members of Examity's leadership team, background check and comprehensive training. Each proctor has a college degree, advanced technical skills, have completed online courses and have strong communication skills. Proctors are in training for eight weeks before they are allowed to proctor an exam. The eight-week new hire proctor training includes proctoring process, data management process, data security training, customer service training, Examity® software training and training on tools used to perform their function as a proctor. The training includes several live simulations by senior staff within Examity®. All proctors are Examity employees that proctor from Examity centers, never from a remote site. Moreover, every proctored exam is reviewed by Examity®’s auditing team and feedback from this process is used to support ongoing proctor development.

The Student Experience Section

We are aware that taking exams and having them proctored do not necessarily rank high on the fun scale for students. However, they are an important part of the academic experience and are critical in assuring that your Penn State degree is valued and respected by employers and accreditation entities. They help protect the integrity of the university and provide a level of assurance that your efforts are recognized. Actually, in today’s world of digital identities this is likely more important than it has ever been.

That being said we also want to make sure that your experience with online proctoring is relatively stress free.

So, what can you expect when you take an exam using Examity?

First, the on-boarding process will take 5 to 10 minutes depending on the exam rules that have been identified. So, make sure you allocate an additional 15 minutes before you’d like to start the actual exam. Also, remember that this on-boarding process in no way counts against the stated exam time.

Second, once you have started the Examity session the following will occur:

  1. You will be asked to show your photo ID. This can be a driver’s license, a passport, or a student ID with your picture. Be assured that this is a secure process and Examity has been vetted by the university’s security office to assure data privacy and protect. Also, some students may decide to temporarily mask their address and signature which is OK. As long as the proctor can see the picture and your name and who issued the identification.
  2. You will be asked to answer the security questions that you set up when you initiated your profile in Examity.
  3. Following the security questions you will be asked to type in the keyboard phrase that you also set up when you initiated your profile.

Once the verification process is complete the proctor will walk you through the exam rules. They will read each rule to you to assure that you understand what has been put in place by your instructor.

One other step in the on-boarding process involves the scanning of your testing space/location. This is done for many reasons including: to assure no one else is in the room; you do not have any unauthorized testing aids; and there are no other sources that could call into question the integrity of the exam and your test.

Note! If you have a desktop system, if your laptop is connected to the internet via an Ethernet cable, or if you are using an external monitor then you may want to have an external camera that you can use. This will make it much easier to do the room scan. Also, as the proctor will be asking you to scan your exam location please assure you are in a comfortable and appropriate testing environment.

You are now set to take your exam.

It is our hope that knowing in advance what to expect during the on-boarding process will alleviate any stress prior to the actual test.

One additional note for students who are allowed scratch paper or other notes during the exam. During the on-boarding process the proctor will likely ask you to show both sides of each sheet of paper unless the instructor has indicated that this is not necessary. Also, it may be a good idea to have an external camera. This will make it easier for the proctor to observe the testing area and not intervene if you move off camera for a moment to write on the scratch paper, or review one of the approved note pages. This is in no way a requirement for using Examity, it is just one of our best practice suggestions.

All the best with your exams. Now take a deep breath, relax, and let’s get started.