Open Book Exam isn't easy: Here is all you need to know about concept

As the coronavirus pandemic spreads, Delhi University, Pondicherry University and Karnataka State Open University (KSOU) have opted for 'Open Book Exam'. Institutes across the world have used this method to conduct exams even before the Covid-era. Here are answers to some frequently asked questions on OBE.

What is an Open Book Exam

An "open book examination" is that in which students are allowed to refer to either class notes and summaries or a “memory aid”, textbooks, or other approved material while answering questions. Its like question paper is given to students prior to sitting the formal exam or are to complete as a ‘take-home’ exam.

What kind of 'resources' can examinees use

Open-book exams allow students to take notes, texts or resource materials into an exam situation. They test their ability to find and apply information and knowledge, so are often used in subjects requiring direct reference to written materials, like law statutes, statistics or acts of parliament.

Two Types of Open Book Exam

* Traditional sit-down / limited-time exams, with varying degrees of access to resources and references.

* Take home open-book exams you do at home. Questions are handed out, answers are attempted without help from others, and the exam is returned within a specified period of time.

What kinds of questions must an open-book exam have

In an ideal OBE, teachers can devise questions that require students to answer in more analytical and critical ways thus encouraging high-order thinking skills in students as compared to closed book or traditional exams. Open Book Examinations work only when answers cannot be readily extracted from the material.

How is an Open Book exam different from others

An Open Book Examination may test more than just rote learning. It tests students’ ability to quickly find relevant information and then to understand, analyze and apply knowledge, while thinking critically. Answering the question will require more than just copying information from texts. Having access to a textbook may stop them from giving a wrong answer if they cannot remember a fact or formula, but just getting the fact correct will not fetch them good marks. How they locate, apply, and use information is more important.

Is Open Book exam easier for students?

No. The OBE is not easy. On the contrary, it would need extra efforts from students to solve questions as it would mainly be of higher order thinking. Most students think the level of exam would be easy and they would be able to find all the answers in the textbook. Students should not be lulled into a false sense of security.

What are the merits and demerits of Open Book Exam

Merits of OBE

* It saves Paper
* Time-saving: Auto-grade helps in filling the MCQs easily. The online examination can be completely automated and hassle-free.
* Money saver: The money of buying and printing paper is saved. Also, one can save on logistics or assembling and conducting exams.
* Secure: Each student will get a random set of questions from them. So, students can’t cheat from others. Also, they won’t be able to share questions.
* Allows analytical thinking
* Discourages rote learning

Demrits of Open Book Exam

* Can’t keep a check on students
* Can be a victim of fraud
* The students would stop studying and simply copy from the open book provided at the examination hall

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