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How to Handle Online Open-Book Law Exams?

Online exams have become a common form of assessment since the COVID-19 pandemic. Even though the world has gotten back to normal, online assessments continue to be adopted by many universities. What makes an online exam special is that it may also be an open-book exam. This means the traditional approach to exam preparation is no longer suitable. Here are some tips to help you navigate an online open-book exam:


Understand the exam format: Familiarise yourself with the structure and format of the online exam, including time limits and how many questions you need to answer. Find out whether it consists of essays, short questions, problem questions, or a combination of different question types. Pay attention to any specific guidelines or requirements for the particular module.


Check your technical setup: Ensure that your computer or device, and any required software or applications are working properly. Test them in advance to avoid any last-minute technical issues. Make sure you have stable internet connection.


Prepare your resources: Gather all relevant study materials, textbooks, class notes, case summaries, statutes, and any other permitted resources. Organise them in a way that allows easy access during the exam. Create bookmarks or tabs to quickly locate specific sections or cases. We have carefully prepared our All-Inclusive Study Package to help you smash open-book exams.


Review and condense your notes: Before the exam, review your study materials, class notes, readings and any relevant resources to refresh your knowledge. Condense the information into clear and concise summaries, outlines, or flowcharts. This will help you navigate through the material more efficiently during the exam. We have condensed all the essential information in our highly effective study notes for you.


Familiarise yourself with legal research tools: Become familiar with online legal research tools that may be available to you during the exam. Practice using databases, online case law resources, and legal research platforms to enhance your search capabilities.


Understand the legal principles and concepts: Because this is an open-book exam, you should focus on understanding the underlying legal principles and concepts rather than memorising specific cases or statutes. This will enable you to apply the law effectively to hypothetical scenarios or essay questions.


Practice applying the law: Before the exam, you should practise doing mock or past exam questions that require you to analyse legal issues, identify relevant laws, and provide well-reasoned arguments. This will enhance your ability to apply legal principles in exam settings.


Develop effective search techniques: During the exam, if you need to search for specific cases or statutes online, develop effective search techniques. Use appropriate keywords or advanced search features to find relevant legal information efficiently. You may need another computer to do so because the computer you use for the exam may be screen-locked. For searching information offline, you should highlight and label important points in your notes before the exam so that you can find them quickly during the exam.


Manage your time effectively: Like all other types of exam, time management is crucial during open book exams. Allocate your time wisely for each question or section, considering the complexity and point allocation. Stick to the schedule to ensure you complete the exam within the given timeframe. Avoid spending too much time on a single question. Remember to allow yourself enough time to review your answers.


Read and analyse questions carefully: Carefully read and analyse each question before formulating your response. Pay attention to keywords or specific instructions. Identify the legal issues involved and understand what is being asked. Consider the specific elements, factors, or tests that need to be addressed. It is very important that you understand what is being asked before writing the answer.


Plan your answers: Take a moment to plan your approach for each question. Outline your key points or arguments to ensure a clear and organised response. Be concise and to the point in your answers. Use clear and grammatically correct language to communicate your ideas effectively.


Provide well-reasoned arguments: When answering essay or short answer questions, provide clear, logical, and well-reasoned arguments. Support your answers with relevant legal authorities, such as cases, statutes, or scholarly articles.


Cite your sources properly: If you reference specific cases, statutes, or legal principles, make sure that you cite them properly according to the prescribed citation format. Use footnotes or in-text citations as required. Because it is an open-book exam, you may run the risk of being penalised for plagiarism if you do not paraphrase or cite the source properly.


Create a conducive environment: Find a quiet and distraction-free environment for the duration of the exam. Inform those around you that you will be taking an exam to minimise interruptions. Close unnecessary tabs or applications to stay focused on the exam. Remember to turn off notifications on your computer or phone to minimise distractions.


Stay calm and focused: Begin with questions you are confident about to build momentum and gain confidence. This can also help you save time for more challenging questions later. Maintain a positive mindset and stay focused throughout the exam. If you feel anxious or overwhelmed, take a deep breath and remind yourself that you have prepared well.


Review and proofread your answers: Once you complete the exam, if time permits, review your answers. Check for errors, clarify any ambiguous points, and ensure your responses are accurate, coherent, and well-supported.


Submit the exam on time: Make sure you submit the exam before the designated deadline. Avoid waiting until the last minute to prevent any technical glitches or connectivity issues. You are reminded that you will not be able to make any change once the time is up because the online exam system will automatically lock the exam interface.


The key to the success of online open-book exams is to strike a balance between utilising available resources and demonstrating your understanding of the module topics. While open-book exams provide access to resources, the emphasis is still on your knowledge, critical thinking, and ability to apply concepts effectively. Remember to adhere to any specific guidelines regarding permissible resources, citation formats, or any other exam requirements. Always maintain academic integrity by avoiding plagiarism or unauthorised collaboration during the exam.

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