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Open Book Test Taking Tips

In an open book exam you are evaluated on understanding rather than recall and memorization. You will be expected to:
•Apply material to new situations
•Analyze elements and relationships
•Synthesize or structure
•Evaluate using your material as evidence

Access to content (books, notes, etc.) varies by instructor. The exam can be taken home or in the classroom, with questions seen or unseen before exam time.

Do not underestimate the preparation needed for an open book exam: your time will be limited, so the key is proper organization in order to quickly find data, quotes, examples, and/or arguments you use in your answers.

Organize your reference materials Your “Open Book
Make your reference materials as user-friendly as possible so that you don’t lose time locating what you need
•Familiarize yourself with the format, layout and structure of your textbooks and source materials
•Organize these with your class notes for speedy retrieval and index ideas and concepts with pointers and/or page numbers in the source material. Develop a system of tabs/sticky notes, color-coding, concept maps, etc. to mark important summaries, headings and sections.
•Write short, manageable summaries of content for each grouping
•List our data and formulas separately for easy access.

Test Taking
•Read the questions carefully to understand what is expected.
•Make good use of time. Quickly review the number of questions and note how much time each could take. First answer the questions that you are confident of and/or for which you will not need much time checking the resources. Leave more complex and difficult questions for later.
•Don’t over-answer. Aim for concise, accurate, thoughtful answers that are based in evidence.

Use Quotations
•To illustrate a point, or act as a discussion point
•To draw on the authority of the source
•Because you could not say it better

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