Dan’s Quick Guide to Open Book Exams


Due to COVID-19 a lot has changed in our daily lives as students. We have moved from in-class assessments, lab work, invigilated exams in a formal setting to OPEN BOOK EXAMS.

So, what exactly are Open Book Exams?

Open Book Exams are either online or offline where you must submit the work in a specified time frame.

  • Offline exams are when you can download the exam questions or topics and are given a set period of time to complete the answers and then upload to Brightspace or email back to the lecturer.
  • Online exams are where the class or group is issued the questions and given a specific time to answer and submit these online.

Both formats of exams will have a window of time within which you can access and start the exam. Be Mindful of these times as you would if you were attending an exam, BE ON TIME and BE READY.

The difference with these types of Open Book Exams is that students usually have to revise based on the requirement that they will have to rely on their memory, whereas Open Book exams allow the use of notes, text books and any other materials that have been authorised by the lecturer (NOTE: check these out before you start the exam as some devices and sources may be prohibited and if you use them it’s a breach of the Regulations).

With Open Book Exams, preparation is key.  Cue inspirational quote “Fail to prepare, prepare to fail…”

  • Prepare your lecture notes / textbooks with sticky’s, post-it’s whatever helps you to find the topics. Try not to have too many sources of information as you can lose valuable time if you have to check through lots of books.
  • Be Familiar with Terms and Understand what you’re being asked.
  • Manage your time; it is just as important with Open Book Exams to plan how you will allocate time per question, key an eye on the clock like you would do if you were sitting in an Exam Hall in TU Dublin.
  • Don’t COPY or Plagiarise – this is a very important part of the Assessment  Regulations, and you have already probably signed or consented to the Academic Integrity in BrightSpace or emailed to you by the School. For more on this read about ‘Student Declarations’ here.

The TU Dublin School of Computing created this useful Guide that clearly explains how to plan before and during Open Book Exams and they give a list of possible question terms and what they can mean.  Check this out OBE-Guide for Students.

If you have any questions on Open Book Exams at this time please contact us at )advice@tudublinsu.ie.

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