Exam Management Integration

As part of their duty to protect the public interest, many regulatory authorities require new applicants or probationary registrants to demonstrate their proficiency by taking a written exam. Unfortunately, the logistics of providing exams can prove to be challenging, time intensive and expensive. However, there are steps you can take to streamline the exam process, thereby saving on both the costs of providing exams and the amount of time spent on administrative exam duties. Foremost among these is integrating your exam management processes into your association management software.

The Benefits of Integrating Exams into your Association Management Software

Integrating exam management software into your overall association management program can have a dramatic effect on your organizational efficiency. It can directly reduce costs by reducing your dependence on 3rd-party exam providers, particularly if you choose to move to an online environment. It can also help streamline workflows and reduce costly errors in both the registration and results distribution processes.

Reduced Dependence on 3rd-party providers

Many Colleges or other regulatory bodies have chosen to outsource much of their exam management requirements to 3rd-party providers. Since these third parties don’t have direct access to your membership data, which is likely being updated constantly, they depend on snapshots of your data to determine exam eligibility. Flaws in the import/export process can easily lead to registration problems for members (and administrative headaches for you). The problem can be particularly bad when there are multiple exams and types (such as yearly jurisprudence as opposed to one-time application exams). When the provider has to handle these complex scenarios, sign-up and reservation problems are inevitable. Administrators must then contend with all the attendant irate emails, phone calls, paperwork and headaches they entail.

Integrating your exam management functions into your association management software, on the other hand, seriously reduces the chance for error in this process. Rather than exporting a complete list for your provider to sift through, use queries to compile an eligible members list. Maintaining stricter control over your data also means avoiding the inherent delay between when a new member is added (or changes status) and when your exam provider registers that change. What’s more, building exam eligibility lists within your association management software allows for easier integration of eligibility exceptions as well.

Create and Host Your Own Exams

Maintaining more rigorous control over your data may reduce the number of errors that crop up, but engaging a third-party provider can still be a costly endeavour. Why not do away with 3rd-party providers altogether? Provided your association management software offers the option, creating your own exams in an online environment can dramatically reduce costs. With online exams, there’s no need to pay providers, rent physical space or hire administrators to oversee exam writers. Hosting exams online also means added convenience for your membership, and total control over examination sittings and windows for you. If your bylaws allow it, members could log in and take an exam at any time before a scheduled deadline. You could set specific sittings as usual, but allow members the convenience of taking the exam from their own home or office, or set virtually any other exam criteria your organization requires.

Streamline Your Online Reservation Process

Empty desks at an exam sitting because someone's association management software didn't include an exam management module.Integrating exam management into your association management software has the added benefit of helping streamline the reservation process. Reserving seats through online reservation processes can be messy and cumbersome when having to work with outside providers or a cobbled-together external system. For example, some exam reservation systems create a reservation record before payment is processed. This can often result in reservations that go unpaid, leaving gaps of unfilled seats. Integrated exam management software should allow your members to select the date and time of their sitting, but not complete the reservation until after payment has been processed and accepted.

Simplified Results Distribution

The benefits of using an integrated exam management module don’t end with improved data control, accuracy and streamlined reservations though. After exam sittings, the exam administrators need to process and distribute the results. Again, data transmission between your organization and 3rd-party providers creates the opportunity for errors to creep into the system. Furthermore, distribution of the results (and even changes in membership status) can be simplified and automated. With Alinity V6’s optional exam management module, for example, you’ll be able to use automated electronic distribution to send results. Membership profiles can also be automatically updated. There are no postal costs  and no need for administrators to spend time updating registrations and profiles.

Ensuring the competence of their memberships is an important part of protecting the public interest. However, managing exam eligibility, seating reservations and results distribution doesn’t have to be a messy, costly and time-consuming process. Taking advantage of robust association management software, particularly those that feature a dedicated exam management module, can help mitigate errors. It also improves efficiency and saves money by reducing dependence on exam providers while automating much of the exam process.