Open Book Examination : Question Paper Format And Studying Tips

Recently, Delhi University decided to adopt online OBE as an alternative to mode of examinations for final semester students of UG and PG courses in case the situation doesn’t improve in the view of COVID-19 pandemic. The Delhi University Teachers Association (DUTA) objects to the notification and calls it ‘discriminatory’ and guidelines by side-lining the academic council and members of the teachers association. Various other students associations have also been against it. #duagainstonlineexam was also trending on Twitter.

But what exactly in an open book examination and how exactly will it be conducted?

An “open book examinations (OBE)” is one in which examinees are allowed to consult their class notes, textbooks, and other approved material while answering questions. This practice is not uncommon in law examinations, but in other subjects, it is mostly unheard of.

Open Book Examination

The University has instructed the Colleges to frame the question in such a way which is appropriate for such examinations. Questions should test a student’s understanding and analytical skills, and there should be no/minimum scope of direct copying from books and study material.

In both UG and PG programs, in each course, three sets in the question paper will be set and it will be moderated by the department. It is demanded that the question paper should have 6 questions out of which 4 have to be attempted. All questions will be of equal marks, Maximum marks being 75. Students will have to download the question paper from the portal/email, write the answer in a plain white sheet (or as otherwise directed by the University) and scan and upload the answer sheet to the portal. The time limit will be 3 hours, 2 hour for writing the exam and one hour for downloading the question paper, scanning and uploading the answer sheet to the portal.

Here is how you can study better for the test:

Preparation is key : Just because it’s an open book exam, don’t assume it will be easier. Open book exams focus on ‘higher level learning’. It will test your understanding and you will be asked to formulate, compare, analyze, evaluate, or synthesize information, rather than just recall it. So you must adequately prepare and be thorough with all the concepts.

Don’t depend completely on reference materials : During an open book exam, especially a timed exam, extensive notes, text books and other reference materials can quickly become a crutch rather than an asset. Don’t expect to have time to review your notes, re-read your text book, or discover new information during an open book exam – because you won’t. Write important facts on a separate sheet and minimize the time you spend using the book.

Organize your reference materials : all your reference material should be organized and you should know beforehand where what information is. It may even be useful to create an outline of your reference materials so that you can quickly find important information once the test has begun. Don’t make very extensive notes, as it will only take up time going through them during the exam. Your main focus should be on locating the information in the study material, not studying it. You should come to the test already having studied all key concepts and topics. Use highlighters, post it notes and write important data and formulas for easy access during the test.

Manage your time effectively : manage your time the way you would do a regular exam. Don’t over answer questions, be concise and accurate. The same time Management rules apply here as well. Once finished, you should spend any extra time reviewing and proofreading your work for grammatical or spelling errors.

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