Open web exam or test
Open web exams are exams that will usually be accessed through Stream, starting at a set time and completing within a time limit. They may or may not be supervised.
Open web exams/tests require just as much preparation as other types of exams. In an open web exam/test, 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 you will be allowed to use in the exam. You may be limited to a particular set of resources. 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 web 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 web exams/tests require as much preparation as traditional or closed book exams/tests. 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 have ready to use 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 web 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 and highlight important text with different coloured markers. You might find using mind maps or other methods for summaries of information can 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, any required software, and to get an idea of exam/test format as this varies across courses. Do this well before your test or exam. Before the assessment, find out who you can contact and what to do if you encounter any technical issues during your exam.
- It is important to check all your equipment (e.g. computer, specialised software, calculator etc.) works and you know how to use it, well before you begin your online exam or test.
- You might need to tell any people you live with that you have an online exam/test and ask for quiet during this time. If you have a poor internet connection, then ask others to refrain from using the internet while you are taking the exam or test.
- 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; although the format may be different, they may give you an idea of what to expect.
- It is likely that expectations of understanding are higher than regular exam tests as you are allowed to access notes and other resources; as such, it is likely you are expected to demonstrate evidence of a deeper, more nuanced, understanding of the course material. This means you must study and be prepared. 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
As with a regular exam or test, time is constrained, so it is recommended you take a few minutes to plan your approach to the exam or test before you start answering questions. As in a regular exam or test, a little planning at the beginning can have a significant impact on your grade (and stress levels!):
- Before you begin answering questions, check you have the right exam questions and check the number of questions you should have to confirm that it is complete.
- Make sure that you have any additional materials if specified (e.g., formula sheets, math tables).
- Don't just copy directly from course materials and ensure that you correctly reference any material, if needed; it is a good idea to ask your lecturer/course coordinator beforehand if references are required as this will vary across courses.
- Most importantly, be smart with time allocation based on now much a question is worth, the type of questions, and whether the section is compulsory. For example, if a section is worth 60 marks out of 100, then it should be allocated 60% of your time and if that 60 mark section is divided into 3 questions then each question should be allocated 20% of your time. It is a good idea to jot down a timeline of when you will answer questions. Remember, if you spend too much time on a difficult question, then you might not have time for easier questions after it. Planning your time, and sticking to the plan, can also help with not panicking. More advice about help with time allocation can be found here.