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Understanding Exams on Synap

Overview of the requirements for exams, use cases, prerequisites for Exams on Synap
Exams let you deliver questions from quizzes as a high stakes assessment to a group of users. By using exams you can deliver you questions to users with more rules and customisations:
  • Security: Dynamic variations, timers, disable copy and paste, add proctoring
  • Grades: Add pass / fail grades
  • Resits: Create rules for resitting if a fail grade is achieved
  • Attempts: Limit the number of attempts someone can have on exam (default 1 with no resits)
  • Certificates: Allow custom or personalised certificates to be generated upon achieving a pass grade
  • Monitor: View the progress of users in a group on an exam from the exam users table, controls to revoke or re-issue attempts.
  • Access window: Create a strict open/close window to enforce users starting at a specific time
In order to create an exam you'll need to have the following already set up:
  1. 1.
    A Quiz or quizzes
  2. 2.
    A user group
Steps for creating an exam
Make sure you have the exams page enabled in Settings > User Access > User type > Exams
Creating an exam on Synap video tutorial

🧐 The difference between Quizzes and Exams

Depending on your use case and requirements, evaluate the differences between exams on quizzes for which one will be better for you. In general quizzes are used for low stakes, every day learning. Whereas exams are for your high stakes assessments and practice mocks.
Feature
Quizzes
Exams
Attempts
Unlimited
Restricted to 1
Scheduling
No restrictions
Can only take between defined windows
Instructions
Added as the quiz description
Dedicated page for instructions
Timer
Timed or untimed
Timed or untimed
Resits
Not applicable
Number of resits can be defined
Results
Immediately or deferred
Immediately or deferred
Emails
No emails sent
Emails can sent with exam instructions and unique links
Status
View through user progress
Detailed table for started, in progress and completed states
Access
Via Collections or Courses
Dedicated exams page
Proctoring
Not advised
Unique exam links generated that can be put into a proctoring system

🚦 The checklist before you make an Exam

Before you create an exam you'll to have completed the following:
An Exam can only be set to one User group at a time. You can add people into the group after the exam has been set, and they will also be given access to the exam.

🎲 Know which to pick Static or Dynamic Exams

When creating your exam you'll be asked to select between a Static and Dynamic type, before you make your exam you should know which one of these options you'll be making.
Static vs Dynamic exam set up

⚡️ Static Exams

Uses a single source quiz, the exam will contain the exact same questions as the source quiz, all users will get the same set of questions. Sections and grades are copied over from the source exam. Use Static Exams if:
  • You want all users to get the exact same questions
  • You want sections and grades to be copied over from a single source quiz
If you have a source quiz with sections and grades set up, you can still modify these in the exam set up
On static exams with sections, you won't be able to change which questions are in which section, but you will be able to modify section titles and instructions on the exam. Everything is copied over from the source test.

🎲 Dynamic

Uses one or more source quizzes, then you need to create exam rules based on existing tags, all candidates can get a slightly different questions (unless restriction of dynamic variations). Use Dynamic Exams if:
  • You want all users to get slightly different questions (have different exam variations)
  • You want to create the section or exam generation rules per exam
  • You have tags set up on questions to create your weighting rules
Action
Static Exam
Dynamic Exam
All users get the same exam
True
False = if allowing for system generated variations True = only if max variations is set to 1
Uses Tags weighting rules to create
False
True
Modify Sections and Grades
True - copied over from the source test, can be modified for the exam
True - created during the exam
Modify the source quiz/quizzes affects the live exam
False - the quiz is copied over during the exam set up, changes to the source after this point will not be reflected in your exams
False - the quiz/quizzes is copied over during the exam set up, changes to the sources after this point will not be reflected in your exams
Questions / Section order can be shuffled
True - configurable option on the exam
True - configurable option on the exam

🔐 Secure your assessments

With exams you can add on as many or as few security configurations as you'd like. Synap splits exam security into two categories
  1. 1.
    Anti-Cheat
    Features used to make cheating harder; shuffling, variations, disabling copy and pasting, identity checks, IP address settings
  1. 2.
    Proctoring
    Services that monitor the candidates throughout and exam to ensure they don't break any exam rules. Measure on a scale of light to heavy, learn more about proctoring options below

📩 Notify Candidates

Once your exam is set up you'll need to know how you want your users to access and learn about it. When an exam is generated for a student. a unique link and id is given for that user and that attempt. The key considerations when thinking about access and notifications are:
  • Do I want my candidates to have an exam page?
    Unless there is a specific reason like you're using an external proctoring system or you'll be handing out specific exam links through another system, if you're using exams you probably want to make sure the student users exam page is enabled, so they have a dedicated space to view their exams. To check this page go to portal Settings > User access > Student > Pages and make sure Exams is enabled.
    The students exam page
  • Shall I email my users an exam link?
    Emailing your users to notify them about an exam is an important considerations. From Synap you can automate emails to be sent during the exam creation, or you can schedule and create all the exam attempts and bulk send emails afterwards using the users table and controls. The system generated email contains the exam instructions, times, user information and links. Alternatively if you want to send a more customised email you can export all the users exam links from the exams table.
Exporting, emailing and getting exam links
  • Do any of my candidates need modifications for accessibility?
    Synap lets you modify the allowed time on each attempt and the open / close window. If you're doing this you don't want to enable automated emails. Once an exam is created go to the users table, select the user you need to modify, then use the adjust time button in the control panel.
    Modifying a users time

🪜 Next steps

Before you set your first exam to real users, we recommend you always do an internal test first (even if its just for you!) so you can experience what the platform is like as a user and make sure you're happy with all your settings and configuration. Remember even if your on a PAYG plan you won't be charged for exams that Admins take!