Take home tests
As the name suggests, take home tests are tests that you do at home, usually within a specified time frame (such as 48 or 72 hours). They will usually be submitted through your course Stream site. The format may be similar to regular assignments, although they can often be broader in scope (testing all of the course material over the entire semester, rather than specific parts or topics).
As with open book and open web exams and tests, take home tests are focused on depth of understanding and ability to apply information, rather than testing memory:
- It is likely that expectations of understanding are higher than regular tests because you are given time to prepare and are expected to demonstrate evidence of research and a deeper, more nuanced, understanding of the course material.
- Because this is a test of deeper understanding, it is very important you thoroughly prepare and make sure you understand your course material as well as possible.
- You may also be required to submit a full reference list as you would with a regular assignment. Check your assignment guidelines regarding whether this is required.
- As with all kinds of tests, exams, and assignments, you should always refer to your course guide, lecturer, or course coordinator for the details of a take home test as this will vary across courses.
Time constrained assessments and assignments
Time constrained assessments and assignments are exam-like, but unsupervised and will usually be completed through Stream, with a time limit to when you finish once you start. As with any assessment or assignment, preparation is critical to success:
- The rules about what resources you can and cannot use during your time constrained assessment or assignment will vary across courses so you should always refer to your course guide, lecturer, or course coordinator for the details about time and resources before the assessment begins. Ask your lecturer any questions well before the assessment/assignment begins. 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 time constrained assessment/assignment.
- You might need to tell any people you live with that you have a time constrained assessment/assignment and ask for quiet during this time. If you have a poor internet connection, then ask others to refrain from using the internet during this time.
- It is likely that expectations of understanding are higher than regular tests if 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 is particularly true if you have been given the topic in advance. 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).
- Check on Stream or with your course coordinator or lecturer to see if there is a practice exam/test available. Example exam papers can be found in the library; although the format may be different, they may give you an idea of what to expect.
As time is constrained, it is recommended you take a few minutes to plan your approach to the assessment/assignment before you start answering questions. As in a regular assessment or assignment, a little planning at the beginning of your time constrained assessment or assignment can have a significant impact on your grade (and stress levels!):
- Before you begin, check the course number to confirm you have the right assessment/assignment 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. You will likely have less time than a regular assignment, although possibly more than a regular assessment so, if possible, plan your approach and time before the assessment/assignment starts. 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 what and 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.
- It is important to manage your time carefully. Make sure you know when your exam will take place and make time for it (by shifting other commitments if necessary).
- Collect information and ensure that your notes are brief and well organised.
- Use previous test or exam papers to help predict possible topics.
For take home tests:
- Use the Assignment Planning calculator to plan the different steps you will follow during the time allowed.
- Revise the material as for a normal examination. You will need to understand and be familiar with the material before starting the exam.
- Practise writing full answers under the conditions you will face in the assessment (try and match the physical conditions, equipment, and timing as closely as possible).
Strategies for answering questions
- The best strategies for answering questions for time constrained assessments and assignments will depend on the type of questions. Exams may contain more than one type of question, so use the best strategy for each question type (see the relevant strategies for Essay questions, Short answer questions, Multi-choice questions, Problem / computational questions, Case-study / scenario questions, or Oral questions).