Mastering open book exams
OPEN book exams are easy because you don’t have to remember so much, right?
Wrong! Open book exams are tough precisely because examiners know you’re double-checking your facts, so they up the odds by asking really complex questions.
Here is a two-step system that will help you prepare for an open book exam.
Know your subject
An open book exam is not a “remember and regurgitate” exercise. It is a test to see if you understand the implications of the information you have been given.
For example, if the subject is the voyages of Zheng He, you can look up the fact that his first trip started on July 11, 1405, departing from Suzhou.
What you need to be thinking about when you are studying is the impact of that voyage on the Chinese court, the Chinese public, on countries that traded with China, and the implications of that trip on 15th century events – and what would have happened if he had turned the other way and headed for the unknown instead.
So, look at what the themes of your study are, and ask yourself, “What’s the big picture here?”
Index your materials
If you have only one textbook, make sure that the index is a good one.
Test to see if it’s efficient by writing down 10 things you might want to look up.
Set a stopwatch and see how fast you can find the information.
Now, figure that you will be stressed during the exam so you will be slower - perhaps even working at half speed.
Get your materials into shape so that you can lay your hands on the right piece of information fast.
Use sticky bookmarks and (if allowed) make an index of your own that tells you what information is where.
open book exams are tougher because examiners know that you are double-checking your facts. – aFPpic