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Open Book Exams/Take Home Exams

Beware the Open Book Exam! The obvious temptation for a less than ambitious student is to rationalize with thoughts like, "How can anyone flunk an open book test? You can look up the answers in the book!" You do not want to fall into this trap. You cannot count on having sufficient time to complete the test if you must stop to look up everything you do not know and have not reviewed. You should review your notes and past tests thoroughly, just as if you were about to take a multiple choice test. You should be familiar enough with the flow of the material in the text to know where to find certain facts and figures if you need them. A well-prepared student can get a good boost from an open book exam. The key is to be well prepared and familiar enough with your notes and the text to use them quickly and efficiently during the exam for locating specific bits of information quickly. You cannot wait until the exam to hope to gain understanding from your notes and your text. Your prior study and review should have given you a good foundation and understanding of the material. Use the "open book" privilege for the specific dates, charts and details to enhance or confirm your answers.

Look at Take Home Exams the same way you would approach essay exams. While there is not generally much new research required in these exams, you may find yourself under some time constraints. Answer the questions in the direct and concise style as you would in a normal essay exam and attempt to reflect your grasp of the material through the use of examples to support your main ideas. Refer to different sources as you build your case. Make sure your work is neat and readable and free from misspelled words.


Last Updated: 08/20/2013

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