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Take-Home and Open-Book Tests

TIP Sheet
Take-home and Open-book Tests

A student should prepare for an open-book or a take-home test just as he or she would prepare for any test!

A take-home or open-book test is usually more difficult than a standard test because more is expected. The instructor usually grades it more strictly, also.

The words "open-book" do not imply that one may copy from the book. Instead, the individual taking the test may refer to the textbook and/or notes and other written material during the test.

Often the purpose of an open-book or take-home test is for the student  to demonstrate not just the memorization of facts or ideas, but also the ability to use critical thinking in applying or explaining the material. Therefore, although information can be readily gathered from the material at hand, the instructor is actually looking for your ability to use and understand the information on a higher level.

Preparing for the exam:

  • Know major concepts, organization of main ideas, and relationships between different concepts.
  • Use lecture notes to zero in on what the instructor is likely to ask on the exam.
  • Plan ahead by creating an outline of the material.
  • Anticipate the test questions. Use your imagination as to what material will be covered.
  • Prepare potential answers to your anticipated questions.
  • Mark with sticky notes, highlighting, color coding, or other markers those sections of your textbook or notes that might address different potential questions. Clearly label the markers with specific descriptions, so those sections can be found easily during the exam.
  • Make lists of important facts and other details in an organized way, so this information will be readily available as you need it during the exam.

During the exam:

  • Read the entire question carefully.
  • Be sure you understand all parts of each question.
  • Underline words, phrases, or sentences that need emphasis.
  • Make sure all parts of your answer are relevant to the question at hand.
  • Read over your answers to be sure that the question has been adequately covered.
  • Do a final proofread to check each answer for correct spelling and grammar.







Butte College | 3536 Butte Campus Drive, Oroville CA 95965 | General Information 530.895.2511

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