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Open-book Examination

In an open-book examination (OBE), students are permitted access to their notes and/or other resources. OBEs can contribute to a student’s degree in the same way as a written examination would. They can take place in-person or be conducted remotely, and remote OBEs are strongly preferred in the context of Covid-19. OBEs typically consist of multiple-choice questions, short answer questions, or longer essay-style questions. All questions should relate to learning outcomes.

The main differences in assessment practice are:

  1. Place of examination (at home rather than in a hall);
  2. Method of submission (typed submission via computer/VLE rather than completed with pen and paper);
  3. Open use of resources and access to the web is allowed;
  4. Invigilation is optional for open-book exams. There are currently schools in College using online open book exams in final year (e.g. Pharmacy).

It is particularly important to consider the context in which OBEs take place when designing OBE questions.

Designing Open-Book Exams: Guidance on the pedagogy (PDF 169KB)

Appendix 1: Repurposing Face-To-Face Exam Questions to Open-Book Exams (PDF 220KB) / Appendix 1: Repurposing Face-To-Face Exam Questions to Open-Book Exams (Word Doc 41KB)