Open Note Exams

One of the biggest surprises to me about college exams was that many classes have open note and/or open book exams. In high school I may have had one or two, but usually the teacher just gave us a sheet of equations we did not have to memorize. Now, in many of my engineering classes, you can bring in your notes or textbook into the exam. Just because you have your notebook and book with you on the exam, does not mean that it is going to be easy. If you do not understand the material, you will not have the time to look it up in your notebook or textbook. Personally, I have never used my textbook during an exam, but I have used my notebook. Before each exam I would make a cheat sheet in my notebook of all formulas and other important notes that I may need. This will just be a quick 5-20 second check to see if I am using the correct formula. If I had to find these equations in the textbook it may have taken me over a minute or two to find each. I also like to put additional practice problems from the textbook in my notebook in a place that is easy to find. Then if I am given a problem on the exam that is similar to the one in my notes, I can use it as a guide to do the problem correctly. Having a notebook on the exam can be extremely useful if you organize your notes conveniently. I believe professors do this, because in the real world, you can always look something up if you want to verify you are using the right formula. If you know the name of the equation you are looking for, you can find it within ten seconds on your computer or phone by using the internet. Additionally, as an engineer you will probably will be working in a group and can ask someone else for help.

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