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Siobhan Solberg

029: How do you study for an open book exam?

1h and 42 minutes to go.

Then it's time to take the final.

A final that I have had no idea how to prepare for.

A final I'm not sure how to handle.

It's been a quick 8 weeks for Period 1 and I am a few hours from the end. And I have all the feels: excitement, anticipation, anxiousness, uneasiness, and occasionally a really comfortable calmness.

It's an odd one, how do you prepare for an open book exam?

How do you prepare for an exam that is going to require you to answer in long form?

Yes, I could have create an Anki deck with all sorts of hypothetical exam questions and then created chunks of text that I could use to answer them.

Yes, I could sit and memorise all cases.

Yes, I could review and memorise all the slides and lecture notes.

But is that the point?

I put in the work. I organised the information. I participated fully.

Is there anything else left for me to do?

I don't intend this to sound cocky or pretentious. It's more that I'm at a total loss last to how you prepare for an open book exam that depends on you having participated and processed the knowledge of the past 8 weeks along with having a system were that information is retrievable.

Reading the notes over and over is proven to not work.

Active recall does. So does spaced repetition.

But it's open book. It's based on your understanding and not so much on your learning. (Does that make sense?)

So as the nerves build up and the calmness leaves me. As the doubt piles on and the confidence in my understanding dissipates. I'm going to take the next hour to "study" for something I don't know how.

It's been near 20 years since my last final exam.

It's my first one in Law.

Let's do this (maybe I still have some excitement left 🤓)

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