“ Open-Book Exams: Boon or Curse “

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~ vanshika bansal 

Open-Book exams allow you to bring notes, texts, online books or other resources into the exam room. They are often used in subjects that require direct reference to written materials, such as law statutes, figures, or acts of parliament, since they measure the ability to identify and apply facts and expertise.An open-book test would require you to understand the material and be able to apply or interpret it rather than only memorise it. This means you’ll have to prepare to get prepared because you won’t be able to memorise anything! You don’t want to waste time during the exam looking for things or looking over materials for the first time. You’ll need to keep track of the materials you’re permitted to use.

What Open Book exams mean?

In different contexts, “open-book” means different things. It is your duty to make sure you understand what you are and are not able to access during the Exam. What are the contents of your notes? Is it a textbook or a collection of best books? what’s this, the internet? Parents, friends, or a TA? Is there a tutor? Do you have a dog, a cat, a fish, or a plant?

You must also be familiar with the exam’s structure and rules in general. These include understanding whether the exam is multiple choice, problem-solving, or essay-based. You’ll also need to see how long you have to finish the test. Every instructor and exam is different, so go over the syllabus to get as much information as possible.

       Remember that just because you’re using an open book doesn’t mean you shouldn’t prepare or research! If your open book exam is timed, this preparation is even more important. You won’t just be questioned about facts or to remember on an open-book test. It requires you to use “higher levels of thought.” You will instead be asked to compare, analyse, evaluate, or synthesise data. These methods of demonstrating your skills are more difficult than simply repeating facts. This necessitates a thorough understanding of the subject as well as the ability to see and recognise connections.

Some pros of open-book exams 

  • Open-book exams have the potential to eradicate rote learning, which is pervasive in Indian education. Students will be encouraged to be critical and imaginative while they develop their analytical skills.
  • Memory-based exams frequently reward students with better memories. They are a source of concern for students who understand the concepts but are unable to memorise them. Students with different learning abilities can benefit from open-book exams.
  • Students can learn concepts in peace without fear of memory-based tests. In conventional exam setup, Students are focusing their efforts on exam preparation rather than conceptual understanding.
  • Open-book exams have the potential to reform the teaching process and increase educational efficiency.
  • It can also be used to prevent theft and plagiarism.
  • Many people believe that students would just copy the information from the textbook.  People often miss the fact that open-book tests, on the other hand, are structured in such a way that content analysis is required.

Cons of open-book exams

  • Many students study because they are afraid of tests. Students will not be able to concentrate on their studies if they have open-book tests.
  • Many coaching centres exist in India that help students prepare for various exams. They could give you model answers for all of the concepts so you can memorise them. The aim of open-book exams can be diluted as a result of this.
  • Memory practice is also important, especially for children. Open-book exams can deter students from memorising even the most basic information.
  • Since open-book exams may be difficult to grade, students will feel even more pressure.
  • There will be no need to be concerned about forgetting the details.

Challenges of open-book exams

  • If Student isn’t given clear instructions about how to give open-book exams, they can simply copy what’s in the textbook or in online books. It also won’t fulfil the reason for which the exams are being conducted.
  • It’s also difficult to train a large number of evaluators in the current assessment process.
  • The scarcity of qualified teachers in India will make implementing the new teaching method difficult. Students who attend certain high-quality schools will have an advantage over their peers.

Organize your reference materials

When it comes to your reference resources, there is such a thing as “too much” – the more you have, the more you will have to look through to find what you need. Choose carefully what you have on hand. Whatever you plan to use or bring as reference materials should be well-organized.

Organize your notes while having a large number of notes can make you feel more organised. It may also make one feel difficult to sort through as all taken from the best books. Identify main themes and subjects, summarise key details, arrange notes by subject, and determine how topics are related, among other things.

Prepare your materials by making indices of key topics and determining where you can find more information about each of them, bookmarking important pages/chapters, making a list of key information (formulas, descriptions, and so on), and so on.

Time management

Before you begin answering, go through all of the questions, just as you would for any test. If you’ve gotten a feel for all of the questions, start with the ones you know and work your way up to the more complicated ones that enable you to consult your reference materials. When taking open-book tests, students can be tempted to keep adding details or going back to review answers over and over (especially if you have a few days to take the exam). It is important not to over-answer questions; you must be detailed and precise while remaining succinct. Also, don’t quote too much – your own interpretation is crucial.


By reforming the teaching method, open-book exams have the potential to bring a revolutionary change to the Indian Education system. However, it may not be appropriate for primary education, but it will be beneficial in higher education. Testing different types of exams as alternatives to memory-based exams, not just open-book exams, is critical for improving the quality of our educational system.

Must read https://skchildrenfoundation.org/health-in-the-times-of-online-classes/ 

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The content writing domain consists of passionate and creative change-makers who are willing to create a difference in society through their writings and blogs. They write on a range of topics from India to the world and beyond. The team also helps in a range of write-ups and content required for the SKCF webpage and events.

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