Writing exams from home is not the original plan of most people who do so. But due to unavoidable circumstances, most exams are held online, different from the usual physical exam halls. This is why they need special preparation to be familiar with it. Although most online exams are open-book, it may not be as easy as it sounds. Here are some strategies to help you prepare for online open-book exams at home.

Challenges of an Open-Book Exam

Online exams are usually open-book exams where you can go through the notes during the exam. However, they are not necessarily easier than closed-books due to certain reasons. Here are some challenges of open-book exams most people disregard.

  • Open-book exams have strict time limits where the candidates have time restrictions in looking up answers. They barely have time to complete writing answers for the questions.
  • These exams often focus on synthesis, and analysis, and application rather than repeating theories. Therefore they often require thinking and writing skills and not memorizing skills.
  • People often tend to avoid studying for open book exams, which leave the students unprepared and ineffective in exams.

Steps to Prepare for an Open-Book Exam

Having proper knowledge of the course content, organized notes, and a proper plan are the key requirements for an open book exam. Always make sure that your work is your own because the examiners can easily check the academic integrity. Let’s identify the important steps in preparing for an online exam.

Understand the Expectations

When preparing for an exam, the first thing is to identify the expectations of the instructor. This would often differ from one examiner to another, considering their personal ways of presenting the questions. Knowing how to construct your answer based on this would be helpful. Here are some questions that you can ask yourself to understand the exam expectations.

  • What are the types of questions you will be asked? Is it multiple-choice questions or essay type?
  • Do you need to provide long answers or brief explanations?
  • What are the resources you are allowed to refer to during the exam?
  • Can you get things clarified during the exam?
  • Do you need to provide in-text citations or references?

Prepare Notes and Summary Sheets

Although most online exams allow you to refer to study material, don’t avoid making your own notes. When you are in a rush at the exam, you will not be able to find the appropriate context in the resources. Therefore think wisely and study, while writing down notes. It would help you remember the lessons and key points. Also, don’t forget to summarize everything into a separate sheet. Write down the most important points and how to approach writing answers. Here are some useful methods to summarize your lessons.

  • Study charts with column headings to remember the content in each lesson.
  • Tree diagrams to identify the distributions easily.
  • Mind maps or concept maps
  • Flow charts

Study Review Questions

There will be questioned based on the content at the end of each lesson. Practice answering these questions to be more familiar with the modules. Complete the assigned tasks and quizzes to improve your scope of knowledge. Generating your own answer would help you learn the material and build up effective answers during the exam. This would be a good preparation for open-book exams faced online.

Complete Practice Exams

Practice answering questions according to the exam format beforehand. Do the practice exams at least 3 or 4 times and you will find a sequence in which the exam questions will be prepared. Practice answering the questions within the allocated time. Once you get good results for practice exams, you can face the final exam with confidence.

Work Repeatedly in Each Topic

Go through the main topics, concepts, and theories. Identify the connections between these key terms and formulae. Even if you have finished studying a specific section, revise it again and again so that you wouldn’t forget it.

Make a Plan

The final step in preparing for an open-book exam is to prepare a system for finding information quickly. Here are some useful tips that will come in handy when organizing your resources.

  • Set up your writing space and lay out the resources needed so that you can reach them easily.
  • Bind your notes as it will be easier to turn the pages rather than shuffling through loose papers. Have sticky notes and dividers to mark the sections so you can access the relevant pages quickly.
  • Make a chart of contents for quick reference.
  • Highlight your notes in a specific color code according to the category of information.
  • If you are referring to digital notes, you can use highlighter tools and insert comments in PDFs for easy access.
  • Keep all your stationery and calculator nearby.

The things discussed here are related to preparation for an online open-book exam. In addition to this, there are some important things that should be considered when sitting for an online exam. For more details, refer to the article on how to face an online exam.

Tips to Reduce Anxiety

It is normal to feel stressed when exams are around the corner. Most people would be anxious which is the body’s response to fearful thoughts. Here are some ways in which you can reduce anxiety and enhance peaceful thoughts.

Practice a breathing exercise by inhaling through your nose for 4 seconds. Expand the stomach as you draw the breath in. Then hold your breath for another 4 seconds and breathe out through your mouth for 4 seconds. While doing this, focus your mind on the sensation of air going in and out of your body. Notice how your lungs expand and contract.

Listening to music, singing, and dancing is another way to engage in something other than the course material. Such activities would help calm your mind and relieve stress. Also, don’t forget to eat a healthy meal with proper nutrients. Avoid junk food that could upset your stomach especially when an exam is close.

Take a rest from studying by going for walks, watching a brief TV show, or even gardening. Engage in your hobby, play with your pets and focus on living in the moment. Keep in touch with your friends, which is a good way to reduce anxiety. Here are some ways to keep in contact with your friends during online learning.

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