Should exams be open book?

Is an exam just a game played between students and professors, a game in which students try to guess what will be on the exam and professors try to outwit their students? If so, what is the optimal study strategy for students, and likewise, what is the optimal exam design for professors: open or closed book? Here is one of my favorite posts from  one of my favorite blogs, cheaptalk.org … Enjoy, and tell me what you think.

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About F. E. Guerra-Pujol

When I’m not blogging, I am a business law professor at the University of Central Florida.
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3 Responses to Should exams be open book?

  1. The Professor's Wife says:

    Open book exams always seem so much more challenging.

  2. enrique says:

    I felt this way too when I was a student, but I wonder why? Does the student study less (both in total and on the margin) than he or she would if the exam were closed book? Does the professor have a greater license to ask more obscure questions when the format of the exam is open book? Both reasons?

  3. The Professor's Wife says:

    Enrique, I’m not sure about the professor asking harder questions, but I do think the student studies less and because of this has to be looking up the answers, which takes up a lot of time during the exam.

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