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Open Book Exams: Are You Ready?

Photo: Courtesy of Creative Commons

Open book exams can be illusionary. They appear easy, breezy, and create sweeping horizons because everything is at our fingertips. Read the next question, flip some pages, and pronto—there is the right answer.

If only…

Indeed, there is full access to everything: professor’s lecture notes, PowerPoints, textbook(s), homework and quizzes (with solutions!), personal class notes, friend’s class notes, the Internet, and so much more.

Yes, and yes to all the above.

Well, the easy access also becomes the source of murkiness. BECAUSE, access to all and everything comes with a set of caveats.

How will you identify the right answer in a timely manner?

My simple response is by being prepared for an altered mode of exams.

  • Maintain study routines: Read, understand, and confirm that you have understood. Practice problems, compare solutions with your results, check if you know how, and check again.
  • Whittle down: Identify and compile three resources for each individual exam.
  • Create a table of contents: While taking the exam, what you want to focus is on writing the responses correctly and not fishing for the right information. For example, you may want to identify where angular kinetics is situated within the professor’s PP, textbook, and recent quizzes. Mark the page #s. Similarly, you may want to organize the textbook and your class notes about Napoleon by placing sticky notes on similar trending themes. Bookmark websites that were referenced during class.

You can be ready—just with a different mode of preparation. Do not put off preparing for an open book exam until the night before.

Want to learn more about preparing for open book exams? Register for our upcoming virtual workshop, Preparing for Open Book Exams:

You can also schedule a virtual consultation with a learning instructor to discuss your strategies by calling 215-573-9235.

By Staff Writer: Dr. Rashmi Kumar, Associate Director of the Office of Learning Resources and Specialist in STEM Learning

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