Advice for Using Respondus Monitor for Simultaneous Large-Scale Exams

Respondus Monitor includes an auto-scaling feature, specifically designed for when thousands of students at a university begin an exam at the same time.

If the auto-scaling isn’t fast enough (it takes about 2 minutes to launch new servers), students will enter a queuing system with a countdown clock, showing when the proctoring session will begin. In the rare event that the queuing system is triggered, the countdown clock isn’t expected to last more than five minutes.

What is more likely to happen when classes give large-scale exams with students starting the test at the exact same time are LMS server issues or local internet connectivity issues. It is not recommended that instructors have students (especially large numbers) start exams at the same time, and students should not exit the session while waiting. Better, instructors should stagger the start times of exams so that fewer students encounter issues or the queuing. Even a 10 or 15-minute window would improve the student experience, connection to the test, etc.   (Even having the test start 10 minutes after the top of the hour would help, as many instructors will open exams at X:00, not X:10).

Some additional guidance:


  • Make sure all students have done a practice exam on the device/network they plan to use for the exam.
  • Tell students that if they encounter the countdown timer, they should not reload the page. That will simply start the timer over for them, resulting in unnecessary delays.
  • To reduce the anxiety of students, instructors should consider allowing a little extra time to complete the exam (e.g. 10-15 minutes). In this way, if students encounter the timer or have a technical hiccup at the start, they will be less stressed.
  • Remind students that “Help Center” is available within Respondus Monitor and it will help them troubleshoot technical issues (webcam, microphone, internet connection, etc.). They can use this immediately before an exam to ensure everything is working correctly. Live chat support is available from this area when using Respondus Monitor. Live Chat is also available from the “It’s Not Working” links that appear in the pre-exam startup steps.