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.

Good luck.

open book ex­ams are tougher be­cause ex­am­in­ers know that you are dou­ble-check­ing your facts. – aFPpic

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