Open book tests (or exams) can be harder than it seems like they would be, particularly if you are unfamiliar with the information.

Here are some tips to help you prepare:

  • Open book tests are often harder than other tests (yes, true!), so it is very important to study.  Treat it as you would a regular exam.
  • Don’t assume that you will be able to skip studying and just find the answers in the book during the test.  You must familiarise yourself with both the textbook and the important themes of the material.  Open book test are normally longer and more detailed than traditional tests, so you will run out of time if you are not prepared.
  • It will help if you jot down any needed notes as soon as you receive the test so that you don’t spend as much time looking through the book.  If you use your book to look up the information for each and every questions you will probably run out of time to complete the test.
  • Prior to an open book exam write out the themes and vocabulary that will probably be on the exam.  Once you have completed this task, note the location of this material in your book. You want to be able to locate this information quickly and easily.
  • Use a highlighter to mark the important information in your textbook if you are allowed to.  Another good tip is to jot down notes in the book to use for the exam, or use sticky notes to add important information where it is readily accessible.
  • Answer the questions you know before you answer the ones that you will use the book for so that you can use your time efficiently.
  • Don’t copy text straight from the book.  Your teacher (or similar) wants to know that you have learned something, not that you can find it in the book. It’s ok to quote when necessary, but don’t overuse them. Try to paraphrase what you read into your own words.