Guidance for open book exams in a 48 hour period

An online open-book examination is an examination that allows you to access materials such as summaries and notes. This type of exam does not just test your ability to recall information. Instead, you will be expected to engage in a critical and analytical manner, to demonstrate how you have understood your topic and that you can apply relevant knowledge to the question. More information on online open-book exams can be found on the Skills@Library pages.

Frequently asked questions

How should I prepare for my open book exams?

Please visit the Skills@Library to learn more about revision and note making before your exam. Be careful of preparing for the exam with others and sharing your work as this could lead to collusion which is considered academic malpractice.

Do I need to put references in my answer?

You should ensure that where you build directly on the work of others you acknowledge their work when you are writing in an open book exam. For example, if you use selective citations from the work of others then you must give key information such as author name and date of publication as you would in a regular timed, closed book exam.

Do I need to include a full reference list or bibliography at the end of my answer(s)?

You do not need to give a full list of references or a bibliography in this kind of exam. However please pay close attention to the guidance below on academic integrity.

How long should I spend writing?

Your module leader will give you guidance on how many words you should write and approximately how long this should take you. It should also be written as part of the online examination instructions. In general the School guidance states that you should not exceed the following word counts:

2 Hour Exam 2000 words maximum
3 Hour Exam 3000 words maximum

As the time taken to complete the task does not form part of the assessment criteria, and to take into consideration students with additional needs, all students will be given at least 48 hours to complete the assessment task. However you are only expected to write for the time stipulated and should adhere to the maximum word limit. For online exams, the word limit will not include diagrams or tables.

If the amount of work submitted is significantly higher than the specified word limit, a penalty may be applied at the assessor’s discretion and this will be reflected in the marks awarded.

How will my exam be marked?

The exam will be marked according to how well you have answered the question(s). Make sure you read the question(s) carefully and understand what is being asked. Consider the balance in what is required between theory and application.

Are past papers still a useful revision tool?

Yes, past papers are still a useful revision tool in that these will highlight the types of questions that could be asked.

Will additional guidance be provided on how to prepare for the open-book exams?

You will be provided with further guidance on how to prepare for open-book exams and the expectations associated with these. This may include for example, preparatory sessions within specific modules, mock exams and/or exemplar answers. If you require further clarification on individual topics/modules, please contact the member of staff who delivered the lecture or the module leader. It is important to note, once the exam questions are released at the start of the exam period, students will not be able to contact academic staff for further guidance or clarification of the lecture content and exam questions.

How will the exam papers be made available?

Exam papers will be made available through the relevant module area on Minerva. You will be required to submit your completed answers online in the appropriate Turnitin area. Specific instructions will be provided closer to the time but in advance of the exam. Please ensure you familiarise yourself with the instructions beforehand.

What happens if I run into difficulties when submitting my exam?

Students that report any technical issues with accessing content or during an exam MUST log as a matter of urgency with IT, by contacting the IT Service Desk. You should provide the full context of any issues you are having (Browser/Operating System/Module/System (if known) and exam finish time) to help staff as much as possible prioritise. If issues are unable to be resolved within a suitable time frame to before the end of the exam you should contact and include reference to your IT ticket number.

If you have any questions on the content of the paper during the exam please contact between the hours of 9am – 5pm (UK Time), Monday to Friday.

Do the same academic integrity regulations apply to open book exams?

Yes. Although taking an exam online is different to sitting a closed book exam in an examination venue, the regulations around sitting exams and submitting work are the same. The University of Leeds takes cheating, academic malpractice and plagiarism very seriously. Your submission will be put through Turnitin (unless a Tophat or Gradescope submission).

Please visit the Academic Integrity and Plagiarism web page to familiarise yourself with the rules before your exams.

What if I am unable to complete my exam within the designated 48 hour period due to mitigating circumstances?

Should you be unable to complete these open-book examinations before the deadline because of illness or any other mitigating circumstances, you will be able to request a further attempt by completing the standard Mitigating Circumstances form and submitting the appropriate documentary evidence as you would in the case of any missed or affected exam. Note: since these are examinations, extensions to the 48 hours will not be granted.

Remember that the University defines plagiarism as presenting someone else’s work, in whole or in part, as your own.