Tag Archives: Assessments

Mastering Computer-Based Tests

Seven Handpicked Best Practices for Candidates

A computer-based test or CBT, in simple terms, means taking a test on a computer instead of paper. Instead of using a paper and pen, one uses a keyboard and mouse to answer questions appearing on the computer monitor. Many major and high-stakes examinations in India like the JEE Mains, CAT and BITSAT have decided to go the CBT way.

The switch from paper to computers for assessments is not entirely surprising, given the surge of technology in almost every sphere of education. However, this method has attracted mixed responses from the candidate community. A lot of them still feel apprehensive and jittery about making the switch and prefer to take the paper-based assessments.

Let us put you at rest by sharing the top seven best practices for students taking computer-based tests:

Before the assessment:

  • Online Mock Assessments: Most of the high-stakes examinations are taken by either people pursuing full-time graduation courses or working professionals. They can’t go to physical examination centers to take mock tests. So online mock assessments allow them the flexibility to prepare for tests at their convenience. Another advantage is picking up a lot of crucial test skills like time management, familiarity with exam patterns and marking criteria, answering strategies, and knowing the probable questions. Lastly, mock assessments provide instant feedback and detailed analysis, which helps test takers rectify their errors and prepare accordingly.
  • Time Management: Many candidates either take on too much pressure while mastering this strategy or too little. The idea is not to stress yourself and focus on achieving smaller goals. The initial goal while writing a mock test could be to try and attempt all the questions without keeping a timer. Once you become familiar with the questions, pattern, and answering strategies, start timing yourself. In the beginning, note the time you take. Subsequently, with each test, try and reduce the time you take by small margins while also observing how much time you require on each section of the test. By the final round of mock tests, attempt to have at least 15 minutes of your total time to check, and revisit your entire exam or sections.
  • Calming your nerves before a test: Test anxiety is something that candidates across age groups go through. Speaking to peers and seniors before an upcoming test helps in multiple ways. It allows candidates to double-check any uncertainties that they might have and find solutions through collaboration. This gives them more confidence and calms their nerves before a high stakes test. The discussion also brings up various nuances and tips from the seniors and peers that the candidate might not have thought of earlier.

On the day of the assessment:

  • Arriving early at the exam center: Arriving early at the exam center has two significant benefits. First, it allows you to complete all the entry formalities in a calm and organized manner before most other candidates. Secondly, the extra time will enable one to de-stress and familiarize themselves with the exam center – the seating arrangements, testing digital equipment like the computer, mouse, keyboard, and earphones, and checking the water and restroom facilities.
  • Reading “Instructions for Candidates”: A lot of candidates may feel that they might save time by skipping reading the instructions and use that time for answering questions instead. But a lot of them don’t know that the “reading instructions” time is given in addition to the assessment time. These instructions also have some crucial points that the mock tests might not have covered or might be specific to the test center. Some exams have now also started having invigilators read out the instructions aloud to all the test-takers so that everyone has the same experience while taking the test.
  • Answering section-wise assessments: Certain assessments do not have any stipulated time attached to each section. They also do not have any designated order in which a candidate should solve the sections. This allows candidates to switch between sections freely. If you are taking such an exam, use this advantage to go through all the questions before answering, check their difficulty level, and plan your answering strategy accordingly.
  • “Mark for Review” option: This feature allows candidates to flag specific questions and revisit them later. This option might be used in various scenarios, some of which are: the question is confusing or difficult, the answer might take time, one isn’t sure of the response and doesn’t want to spend too much time recalling it. Once the candidate marks the question/s for review, it is marked in a different color, so that it is easier for them to revisit it later.

We hope that the above best practices will help you prepare for your assessments in an organized and effective manner and make you calmer on the day of the assessment.

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Do You Want to Reimagine Education for Generation Z? Do it with AI!

Computers will overtake humans with AI within the next 100 years. When that happens, we need to make sure the computers have goals aligned with ours. – Stephen Hawking

This quote often scares humans instead of inspiring us to do all that is possible to combine human forces with AI. How AI can change things in every field existing today is unimaginable. It can have a tremendous impact, especially in the education system. AI can be used by educators to deepen their impact in the classrooms and create meaningful and personalised academic experiences. 

Let’s look at a few spaces where the presence of artificially intelligent tools is changing the game.

Assessments

  • Exam Fraud Detection:

To combat the increasing problem of exam fraud, universities have started using facial recognition systems to create biometric profiles of candidates and then match them with photos taken during exams. This technology is also used to monitor students via webcam during online or remotely proctored examinations. 

Exam fraud exists even at the marking stage. To authenticate the identity of the markers, the face recognition system is used similarly. Another advantage of AI-enabled remote marking is the highly effective allocation of marking assessment – if a student in Japan has written an English exam, the evaluation can be easily allocated to a person situated in an English speaking country. The assessment can be quickly evaluated; results uploaded, leading to on-time announcement of exam results.

  • Energy Management of Test Centres: 

When a critical state or nation-wide examinations are being conducted, efficient real-time exam management is vital. TCS iON’s Command Centre has a unique Energy Management Solution whose sensors collect data in the real-time and the temperature of servers and UPS rooms . This translates into real-time monitoring and data analytics for preventing any future mishaps and maintaining them beforehand. Such measures help in ensuring that the exam is not disrupted due to power failures or similar issues.

Learning:

India’s primary school enrolment rates are at an impressive 94%. This number, however, soon starts to look disappointing when we search for the dropout rates. The dropout rate moves to a staggering 20% by the time children move to the higher secondary school.

This number is a very poor indicator of the quality of education the students are receiving. Technology is making waves and changing lives in sectors like medicine, banking, energy and so on. But the one industry which would benefit the most would be education.

Personalised Learning:

Imagine if all the 94% enrolled students got a chance to pursue their education in a personalised manner, learn at their own pace, and give customised examinations. Artificial intelligence has the power to create this kind of learning environment for millions of students, which in turn can solve a lot of more significant problems like student motivation, pressure on teachers to attend to each child, and dropout rates of students. It even leaves time on teachers’ hands to attend to bigger goals like research or even pursue leadership roles.

Mental Health:

With the increasing amount of pressure and work in student courses, the number of counsellors are just not enough to manage the mental health cases. Some universities have started using AI-enabled chatbots to learn about student emotions and execute “intelligent mood tracking”. These chatbots, of course, cannot function in isolation, but when combined with human intelligence, a lot of the constant wait time to see counsellors could be reduced leading to decreased stress levels and increased student motivation.

Campus Management:

To increase student engagement levels and have higher student satisfaction rates, a lot of university campuses are devising ways to automate operations with the help of AI:

  • Chatbots:

Chat and voice bots are being used to offer round-the-clock support to resolve numerous IT issues related to devices, network connectivity, password resetting, or resolve frequently asked queries. In addition to the support being round-the-clock, the chatbots can handle multiple users at the same time, the resolution rates are much faster, and the implementation and maintenance costs are low.

  • AI-enabled attendance marking:

Schools and universities around the world have started using AI to make mundane administrative tasks easier to execute. Teachers in a classroom have to click a picture of their entire present class and the system, using facial recognition marks the attendance for that day.

  • Recognising Student Emotions:

Virtual classroom platforms can now realise how students are responding to lectures. It not only detects whether students are awake or sleeping but also tracks their emotions. This gives educators a firm idea of how engaging their lectures are and allows them to make changes accordingly.

The above ideas are only a few areas where AI is being used. The impact will continue to grow in the coming years with all the stakeholders in the education system – students, teachers, school leaders, and parents being affected positively.

To know more, visit: www.tcsion.com