Take home exams are double edged swords. You don't really know if you're being done a favor by your teacher or whether he is trying to make it harder for everybody else taking the test. While you do have all the resources you might need for the exam - such as your textbooks, the Internet, and even help from your parents or siblings - the time that would be required to answer the questions in a typical take home exam is usually longer than the time it takes to finish an average exam in school.
Here are the tips that you may need when taking a take home exam.
- Since this is a take home exam, you have to take advantage of all the resources that you have at home that wouldn't be at your disposal if the exam were in the classroom. Organize all your books, lecture notes, journals, magazines, publications and other relevant materials that may help you answer the questions. You might even want to refer to online resources to help make research easier and quicker.
- Try to clarify the vague parts of the test paper. Unlike in a test taken inside a classroom, you will not have the chance to ask the teacher regarding the parts of the test that need clarification. Scan through it before taking the exam home, and if you find anything confusing, you should ask the teacher right away.
- Take your time. You may start with the question that you feel the most comfortable with so that you can get the hang of it. Have the easy parts done away with, as you will most likely linger in answering the more difficult ones. Since you're taking this at home, you don't have to follow the sequence of the exams.
- Try to scan through the material for possible supplements and additional information that can help add to the things that you already know. When you've zeroed in on the items that you want to use for your final answer, try to consolidate it by writing an outline first before writing down your answer. This would allow you to track the sources of your information more efficiently.
- Write your answer for each of the questions by checking your outline. Try to integrate the things that you already know with the information that you derive from your textbooks, lecture notes, magazines and other publications.
- Discuss with your classmates. Since this is a take home exam, your teacher will most probably allow you to discuss the exam questions with your classmates. In such exams, the questions are most likely analytical, and what's important is not necessarily the answers, but rather how you attack the questions. Remember, though, to check with the teacher beforehand if this will be all right.
- Review your answers. Take home exams would give you at least 12 hours to read and finish the test. Make sure that you do not commit any mistakes due to misreading the question or sheer carelessness.
Take home exams enable you to work on difficult school work in the comfort of your own home. Use this to your advantage. Gather all the resources you can get, and be sure to check and recheck your answers before finalizing them. With perseverance and a bit of luck, you should be able to pass your take home exam with flying colors.