Strategies for open book exams

When your teacher announces there’ll be an open book exam, don’t be too quick to slack off. While many think it’s quite an easy test, this type of exam lens more on your understanding and ability to explain rather than define.

So how can you study effectively for an open exam? Here are some of the most useful tips.

1. Don’t underestimate it.

Before anything else, you need to have a sound mindset. You can’t underestimate an open book exam because it’s nothing like your basic True and False or Identification tests.

2. Make sure you all have the materials.

Whether it’s a book, an index card or a test reference, you need to have them with you. These materials stand as your reference in order to answer the exam. Without it, you’ve basically failed already.

3. Study beforehand.

Many students feel like they don’t need to study for this type of exam. The fact is you should because this will save you a lot of time in answering the questions.

What you can do is to go through the lessons that will be included in the text. Study your material beforehand so you have a good working memory of it already.


4. Organize what you learn.

Once you’ve gone through your notes, it’s time to get organized. Make brief notes of every chapter included. Summarize it the way you understood it and jot them down on index cards.

The key here is to simplify what you learn through the use of keywords and concepts that will help you answer the questions.

Whichever type of learner you are, you can make use of mind maps, outlines or a scribbled set of notes.

5. Answer the exam carefully.

The trick here is to have a flow. Answer those that you can answer first and go back to the more complex ones. If you need to refer certain quotations from the material, don’t forget to use quotation marks.

There you have it, 5 steps to pass your open book exam. So go ahead and start reading!

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