• Bill Holmes

My experience with online proctoring – Part 2

I had some challenges with the online proctoring!

“There is no substitute for hard work.” Thomas Edison

“If you are going through hell, keep going.” Winston Churchill

I just completed the proctored online PMI-PBA® exam and thought it would be interesting to share the experience.

I shared the registration process in an earlier post located here:


A couple of days before my test, PearsonVue sent an email reminding me of the time and protocols. They also recommended that I test my system 30 minutes before the exam, so at the appointed time I did. Interestingly, the system immediately took me through the same set up process I had done before.

I was prompted to input a test code and a cell phone number. They sent a link to my cell phone and I was required to take a picture of myself, front and back of my driver’s license, and the front, back, and side views of my office area. With that completed, I refreshed the screen on my computer and clicked where prompted. I was asked to download the OnVue application, which I imagine is PersonVue’s proprietary software. I got a message telling me to log in a few minutes before my scheduled test time, so I closed out the window and waited.

15 minutes before the test I tried to open the OnVue app to take the test, however it would not accept my access code. Now I was getting a little nervous! Test time was approaching, and I was unsure what to do. I went back to the confirmation email and followed the original link where I downloaded the app and provided the requested information and pictures for the third time! This time I launched the app and was taken to the test launch screen.

The test launch screen required me to confirm I understood the rules (no food, drinks, speaking to outside people). I provided the required confirmation and the “begin test” screen launched.

My picture was displayed at the top of the screen, and after a few seconds a chat box appeared with one of the proctors. He confirmed some information, then asked if he could speak with me. He asked me to lift up my computer and to show him my desk and he confirmed that my extra monitors were disconnected. With that, I started the test!

I had completed 5 or 6 questions when a chat box appeared. A very polite person told me that I need to quit “covering my mouth”. I sometimes rub my beard when I am thinking, so I didn’t even realize I was doing that! They take the proctoring very seriously, but I was suddenly very self conscious about what I was physically doing. It also made me very nervous about any outside noises in my house. Every time my dogs barked or I overheard bits of conversations my children were having, I was concerned that proctor would interpret that as outside interference.

It was very stressful.

The PMI-PBA exam has 200 questions and a 4 hour time limit. I was somewhere around question 90 when a new screen appeared. That screen offered me the option of taking a break or continuing, and I chose to continue.

After approximately 2.5 hours I was done! The app asked me if I wanted to do a final review or submit. I chose to submit. It asked me if I was sure! While I know that is just protocol, I always wonder if the system is trying to tell me something... I said I was sure, and 5 seconds later I got a screen congratulating me for passing! I was very excited! I hit “next” and it took me to a survey that I completed. After the survey, the app exited.

I was a perplexed. It said I passed, but where was the proof and the final score? I was used to getting a printout at the test center and expected to get that online. I became fixated on finding proof that I passed! I went to the PMI site and looked in my dashboard. There was a link to get my score, but it was broken. The site had not been updated to reflect the new credential.

I went to the PearsonVue site, but there is not an obvious option for getting your test score. The category “For Test Takers” seemed promising, but that had no information for someone who had already taken a test. I decided to follow the “schedule your exam” decision tree, and that led me to a log in option under “schedule exam”. Once logged in the exam I had just taken was displayed, so I clicked and was notified that the status was “completed”. Not helpful!

I noticed that there was a “My Account” menu and one of the options was “View Score Reports”. I followed that and was rewarded with my exam score and proof that I passed!

I took a screenshot this time.

Overall, I was pleased with the online proctoring. It is important that the online proctoring has credible protocols to ensure the integrity of the test taking process, and this process does an excellent job of that. I was also impressed with the seamless way that the technology worked and the obvious live monitoring.

There are areas for improvement. The instructions are not intuitive, and I found myself checking in multiple times on test day. If you pass, there should be an option to save that confirmation. There should also be a congratulatory email from either PMI or PearsonVue, and there needs to be a clear entry point to both sites after the test to get data on how you did.


I have taught hundreds of students in preparation for a wide variety of different certifications, and I have come to realize that you need to prepare your mind, your body and learn content. Those are three different things, and I’ll elaborate on that theme in another post.

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