OPINION | All tests should be open book

Camille Morris, a sophomore physical therapist assistant major from Riverton, takes an ample number of tests in her PTA course. Sydney Johnson says students like Morris should be allowed to have notes while taking these tests. Photo by Bailey Chamberlain.

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Test anxiety, notes that are not thorough, poor memory, and underprepared students are all problems that come from taking closed-note and closed-book tests. As students, we should be able to use all of our resources on tests because when we graduate and get a job in the real world, we will be able to use these resources we learn about in college.

According to the American Psychological Association Dictionary of Psychology, test anxiety is when a student experiences tension and apprehensiveness associated with test-taking, which then results in a decrease in test performance. No matter how prepared the student is, there is still a possibility of their mind going completely blank mid-test.

According to The Blue and Gray Press, when teachers allow open-note or open-book timed exams, students still need to study and prepare in order to get a high score. While the open-note or open-book tests are generally timed, it is impossible for students to look up every question, and being able to refer to notes will only benefit those students who have adequately prepared for the test.

Open-note tests motivate students to take more thorough notes while also keeping them organized, as it will only benefit them when taking an exam. This will also teach students the importance of looking through their notes to know where to locate different key points of information.

If open-note testing is done in the classroom, students who graduate will be prepared to know how to use their resources in their future jobs. For example, we would never expect those in the medical field to memorize every little thing they learned in medical school, so why are we expecting students to remember everything for exams off the top of their head?

It seems as though on closed-note or closed-book tests, students with the best memory do better on them. This is unfair to the students who struggle with memorizing the facts but understand the information.

According to Mr. D Math, open-note tests can contain more in-depth questions, so students have the opportunity to show they know the information and are able to apply it. Exams in which students have the ability to show off the information they know in an analytical way will have more of an impact on their ability to retain the information.

It is understandable that teachers are wary of open-note or open-book exams because of the potential for cheating; however, there is always the possibility of randomizing the questions so that no two students have the same test order. Also, there is always an option for tests to be timed, which still requires students to study before taking the test so they know where to find the information in their book or notes.

Open-note and open-book tests are the future of testing in school because it relieves test anxiety, allows students to have a deeper understanding of the information in order to apply it to test questions, and motivates students to take better notes.

In short, the education system from kindergarten all the way to graduate school should be examined to determine the importance of allowing open-note and open-book tests.