Online oral exams

Online oral exams usually run through Microsoft Teams. Specific instructions on your oral exams will be communicated by your professors on Canvas. Please make sure to keep an eye on the notifications.

Microsoft Teams

Install MS Teams beforehand using this step-by-step plan (it's a free tool for all VUB students). 

A few important things:

  • Add your lecturer as a contact person, so you can see whether he/she is available, or still in conversation with the student before you (more info).
  • In most cases, you will receive an invitation for the oral exam in advance. You can participate directly on the day of the exam by clicking 'Join Microsoft Teams meeting' on the event in your calendar. If you received a link in advance, you can open the link at the time of the exam. Choose to open the meeting via MS Teams application.
  • The way in which the exam is organised depends on your lecturer. You will receive the necessary instructions from your lecturer beforehand. Keep an eye on Canvas for this.
  • Do you want to test MS Teams in advance? Check the tips in this video!

Online written exams

Do you have online exams? Discover more about the different forms of examination and how to participate.

Respondus LockDown Browser

Online exams take place from your own home, via your own computer. To avoid irregularities, these online exams will be conducted via a 'Respondus Lockdown Browser'. This prevents other programmes or webpages to be opened temporarily while taking the exam. Your teacher might opt to add a second layer of security, in that case you'll be filmed (image and sound) via your webcam while making the exam. 

Make sure to install Respondus before the exams start and test it out, in order to avoid any surprises during your exam. Important: If you've installed LockDown Browser in the previous exam period, make sure to update it. Click in the taskbar in the top right corner on the information icon and click "check for the newer version". 

LockDown Browser doesn't work if you've installed a Virtual Machine. A Virtual Machine, like Bluestacks, makes sure you can use your mobile apps (such as Whatsapp) or other operating systems on your computer. You'll need to remove these in order to use LockDown Browser. Contact the ICT Helpdesk if you need help with this. Afterwards, make sure to test if LockDown Browser works via this test.

If you get the message that 'the app you're trying to install isn't verified by Microsoft', please check what to do here.

Tips & Tricks

Make sure you're prepared for your online exam, by going over these notes:

  • It's really important that you install and test the tools to be used beforehand! Take part in the test moments and/or mock exams organised by the study programmes or set up your own test moments with fellow students. That way, you won’t be confronted by any unpleasant surprises on the day of the exam.
  • In the event of technical problems, contact the ICT Helpdesk asap.
  • Find a quiet place to take the exam, where you won't be disturbed. Inform your roommates about when your exam will take place and ask them to limit their internet use, if possible.
  • Make sure to go to the toilet first. If you need a bathroom break, read what you should do below.
  • Lay out all the materials allowed (books, notes, pencil or pen, scrap paper ...). If necessary, have tissues and a glass of water to hand, but other than that, try to create a workspace that is as empty as possible.
  • Take place in front of your computer ahead of time and wait for the lecturer to invite you/call you for your exam. Also bear in mind that exams before yours may run late and incorporate this in your schedule.
  • Has your computer been on for a few hours? Restart it about 15-30 minutes before your exam starts. 
  • Make sure you are clearly visible on the webcam. For example, do not sit directly in front of a window as this will create a shadow on your face.

Technical issues

IUsing technology to take exams, means technical issues are a possibility. Your laptop freezes or the wifi drops out. What do you do?

Interruption of the exam by the student due to a technical issue 

The lecturer will notify the student which channel of communication they can use in the event of technical problems (telephone, chat of email). If technical problems arise, you should get in touch with the lecturer immediately.

  • So if you encounter a technical problem during an online exam, you need to notify your professor immediately! If you wait longer than 15 minutes to report the problem, the exam will be considered to have been aborted. The questions answered up to that point will be marked. You can contact your professor by telephone or chat (if available), unless you professor gave other guidelines on Canvas. 
  • Where technical problems with a written online exam are concerned, the lecturer may decide to continue the exam orally.
  • If it concerns technical problems with a computer or Internet connection, the lecturer may decide to move the exam to another device (telephone, for example).

Interruption of the exam due to bathroom break

Students who, due to medical reasons, need bathroom breaks, provide a medical attestation for this, including the courses they are requesting these for.

More info on the ReFlex-statute

Interruption by the teacher

The lecturer will report any technical problem they experience as quickly as possible and inform students what the next steps will be. If the lecturer can't reach the students, the lecturer will inform the dean of their faculty. If the examiner does not inform the student of technical problems on their side, the exam regulations concerning the arrangement provided for shall lapse after a waiting time of one hour. The student shall inform the dean without delay who shall, in consultation and agreement with the student, draw up a new exam regulation.

Right to make up the exam if it was interrupted or terminated due to technical issues?

There's no right to a catch-up exam, just because you have technical difficulties. Students have the right to request a catch-up exam, in the case of absence due to force majeure. A catch-up exam may be organised if it is possible in terms of organisation. The examiner will decide on how it should be set up.

Computer and internet connection

Your access to internet plays an important role when you are studying or taking exams from home. We try to help students with internet-issues or questions as much as we can. Check out the answers to your frequently asked questions about internet, as well as our tips to optimize your internet connection.

You have no (good) internet connection available at home:
Tips to optimize your internet connection
  • Try to make sure no one else is on your internet connection while taking an online exam.
  • If possible, always use a direct cable-connection instead of a wifi signal, or sit as close to your wifi-box as possible.
Software requires payment or not available outside of Belgium?

In this case, you should contact the ICT Helpdesk. The International Office can also help you with specific questions. In some cases, installing a Virtual Private Network (VPN) can be a way to access blocked sites or applications.

Online exam without a decent laptop or internet connection.

f you do not have the necessary ICT infrastructure (laptop with webcam and microphone), contact Social Legal and Financial Support. They'll help you find a solution. They can give you an interest free loan to but a new laptop.
Laptop and internet

Minimal computer requirements

For all exams organised remotely (oral and written), you'll need a webcam. This can be a built-in one or you can use an external webcam. We advise you to make sure your operating system is up-to-date. This is important for the operation of the software and for security of your laptop or desktop. Make sure your webbrowser is also up-to-date. Students who need to take a written exam with Respondus LockDown Browser will get information from their teachers and check the minimal computer requirements here.

Need an exam space?

Request your space in time!

Students who, due to circumstances, don't have a quiet place available to take an online exam, can turn to Study Guidance.

Request an exam space

These spaces are limited and reserved only for students who need it the most.

  • Students with a Reflex status.
  • Students who, due to privacy issues, prefer not to take an exam with webcam surveillance.
  • Students who are unable to take the exam at home or on their own laptop due to internet or computer problems
  • Students who do not have a quiet place at home where they can take their exams.
  • Students who, because of socio-emotional, family, psychiatric or medical circumstances, need an exam place on campus.
  • Students who have an on-campus and an online exam on the same day and do not have time to travel in between.

You take the exam on your own laptop, under the supervision of a Study Guidance staff member.

Privacy and online exams


Any reference to 'recording' is a reference to an audio and/or video recording. Recordings may be used only for the purpose for which they were made and by the persons for whom they are necessary (e.g. only the lecturers of that subject). In the context of the implementation of the contract between the VUB and you, the student, you must identify yourself before each exam, regardless of whether it is on campus or online.

In the context of the implementation of the contract between the VUB and you, the student, supervision will be possible for each exam, whether live on campus or live online, or by means of an automatic monitoring system with human review.

Een opname maken van een mondeling examen

If you want to record an oral exam, you must ask the explicit consent of the lecturer and all other persons who will be visible or heard in the recording (for example, in the case of a group presentation, all your fellow students must give their permission). You must tell them why you want to record the exam, how long the recording will be stored (preferably up to three months after the end of the academic year) and who will have access to the recording. The lecturer and students must give their consent in writing (by email). At the time of the exam, you must ask them to confirm their consent.

If your lecturer wants to record an oral exam, they must ask for your explicit consent. It's best to give this consent by way of an email so that there is tangible proof (particularly if you do not consent). The lecturer must indicate why they want to record the exam, who will view it and how long the recording will be stored. The normal storage time for this type of recording is up to three months after the end of the academic year. This is also the storage time for exams. This term will only be adjusted if an appeal is ongoing and the recording is needed for that process or if the lecturer has asked permission for the extension. We recommend that the lecturer asks you to explicitly confirm your consent at the beginning of the exam.

If you don't want the exam to be recorded and you see that the lecturer is going to record, make it clear to them that you do not want them to record the exam. You have the right to do so and it has absolutely no implications for you as a student or for your exam. It is also not a problem if you first gave your consent but have now changed your mind. Indicate this clearly to the lecturer.

The teacher makes a recording with Respondus Monitor (in Respondus Lockdown Browser)

If you have a written exam which is organised with LockDown Browser, the lecturer may also decide to deploy the Respondus Monitor to help with the supervision. It is naturally difficult for a lecturer to supervise large groups live online.

  • This monitoring software uses your webcam to record you, the student, everything that happens on your screen and the sounds around you. In the recording, the software signals any action taking place which warrants closer inspection: if you disappear from the screen, for example, if voices are heard etc.
  • The recording alone is not sufficient basis for a fraud case. The lecturer will consider on the basis of the recording whether there is any suspicion of fraud. Should the lecturer conclude that this is the case, they will report it to the dean who will investigate further including possibly interviewing the student.
  • The recording can only be accessed by your lecturer and if necessary, the dean of the faculty.  The recording will be stored for a limited time only. Once the examination board has met, the recording will be deleted. If, based on the recording, there is indeed suspicion of fraud, the recording may be stored for longer in the context of the fraud file.
  • If you, the student, have a sound reason for not wanting your exam to be recorded in your own home environment through Respondus Monitor, you can request an exam space on campus. You will then be permitted to take the exam on your laptop or a VUB laptop on location (Etterbeek or Jette campus or an external location depending on what is available). You will use the same modalities when taking the exam as the other students (online and through the browser + monitor) at the same time, but in a privacy-neutral environment. Since this will be at one of the VUB locations, there will also be live supervision.
  • If you inform us of your issue with privacy after the above-mentioned date, we will no longer be able to guarantee a place on campus, in terms of organisation, and you will have to lodge your objection with the Data Protection Officer (DPO) at ( If you consequently do not take the exam, you will be marked as 'absent'. If the agrees with your justification, you will be marked as 'legitimately absent'. If the DPO puts the interests of the university above your justification, you will be marked 'absent without just reason'.

The teacher or supervisor(s) wants to monitor the students live via the webcam during the exam

If the lecturer organises an online written or online oral exam with written preparation, they may opt to supervise (or have supervision carried out) by way of the student's webcam. We expect from the lecturers that they notify students of this in plenty of time in advance.

  • If you, the student, object to the use of the camera in your home environment, we give you the opportunity of notifying us of that, stating your reasons, you can request an exam space on campus.
  • If you wait until just before the exam to indicate that you have a privacy problem, the lecturer will be unable to do anything other than mark you 'absent'. You should then lodge an official objection with the DPO (and not with the lecturer) at If this objection is accepted, you will be marked 'legitimately absent'. If this objection is not accepted, you will be marked 'absent without reason'.
  • If, during the exam, you indicate you have a privacy problem and stop the exam, the lecturer will make a note of this. You must then lodge an official objection with the DPO. The lecturer will mark the exam to the extent it has been completed.

The teacher or supervisor(s) wants to verify your identity via live webcam

At the start of the exam, the lecturer may ask you to switch on the webcam so they can check your identity live. The lecturer may also ask you to hold your student card up to the webcam. You may not refuse to do so. If you do refuse, you will not be allowed to start the exam and will be marked 'absent' for that exam. If you do not have your student card with you, you will have to identify yourself some other way (with an identity card, driver's licence...).

Use of Respondus Lockdown Browser

In the case of written online exams, your lecturer may organise the exam in such a way that it can only be taken through Respondus LockDown Browser. You can only install the browser using this link

We strongly recommend you test the browser in plenty of time before the exam and report any technical problems without delay. The VUB cannot guarantee that it will be possible to immediately solve any technical problems which are only discovered at the moment of the exam. If you do not install the file, you will not be able to take the exam. This is equivalent to not sitting the exam. Students have the right to request a catch-up exam, in the case of absence due to force majeure. A catch-up exam may be organised if it is possible in terms of organisation. The examiner will decide on how it should be set up (Art. 111 OER).