Open book exam or test
Open book exams/tests require just as much preparation as closed book exams. In open book exams/tests you are allowed to access notes, books, or other specified resources during the exam/test. It is important to know what type of information and how much will be allowed in the exam. You may be limited to your own notes or just to the textbook. You will need to be able to retrieve information quickly and effectively in this sort of exam so preparation, clear note-taking and organisation are very important. As exams/tests vary according to course, your course coordinator or lecturer should provide details of format, and what can and cannot be used.
Open book exams/tests generally don’t test memory because you are able to access information. Instead, they tend to test your understanding and ability to apply what you have learned. For this reason, open book exams/tests can be as difficult as traditional closed book exams/tests and require as much preparation. Be careful however, not to bring too much material to an exam/test as you can waste valuable time looking for information. It is very important to make sure what you bring is well-organised so information is easily locatable and relevant. Also take care to reference when appropriate - the rules of plagiarism still apply in an open book exam/test.
- Revise the material as for a normal examination. You will need to understand and be familiar with the material before starting the exam. The exam is not the place to try to read and understand material. Understanding the material well will also help when locating information.
- Ensure that your notes are brief and well organised to ensure you are able to quickly locate information.
- Highlight important sections for quick referencing
- Highlight important text with different colours of markers
- Use mind maps or other methods for summaries of information to help you retrieve information quickly.
- Contact your course coordinator or lecturer for details about technology that can and cannot be used in the exam/test, and to get an idea of exam/test format as this varies across courses.
- Check on Stream or with your course coordinator or lecturer to see if there is a practice exam/test available.
- Practise interpreting questions using previous exam papers.
- Practise writing full answers under the conditions you will face in the exam (try and match the physical conditions, equipment, and timing as closely as possible).
Strategies for answering questions
- You will only have a small working space, so take the minimum material; being crowded and messy will make information retrieval difficult.
- Don't just copy directly from the textbook.
- Ensure that you correctly reference any material.
- Ensure you use the correct information/theory. This directly relates to ensuring you have a deep understanding of your course material which is what open book exams/tests tend to focus on.