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How To Pass A Take Home College Exam

How to Pass a Take Home College Exam

Take home exams, as you know, are a type of open book exam wherein you take home the question paper handed out during class by your teacher. Answers are expected to be done by you without taking help from others and the answer paper is to be returned within the pre-specified time.

Before I tell you tips on how to pass a take home college exam, let me give you some idea about what a take-home exam entails including the materials that you can access and a few misconceptions that students have in their minds about it.

What kinds of materials are you allowed to use to write your take-home exam

The kind of materials that you are allowed to use to complete your take-home exam varies from exam to exam and from college to college. However, the following are usually allowed by most colleges and for most exams:

  • Teacher's notes and notes taken down during class

  • Reference materials such as textbooks and course content distributed in class

  • Equipment and supporting books like drafting tools, calculators, dictionaries, thesaurus etc

  • Or anything else that you may find useful to complete the exam

The only restriction that is normally placed on completing a take-home exam is that it has to be with your effort, your individual work and you must do it entirely by yourself without help from anyone else including classmates.

Remember take-home exams are not given to test your memory skills. They contain questions that require you to apply the knowledge you have gained from class and solve problems or attempt to write essay-type answers. It could also involve a question that asks you to give a solution to a social issue etc.

Sometimes, teachers may set up a hypothetical situation, ask you to analyze the situation and come up with solutions taken from the course of study.

A few misconceptions that students have with regard to take-home exams

Take-home exams are very easy – This is absolutely not true. Take-home exams do not require you to copy answers straight from a textbook or any other material. In take-home exams, you have to understand the question, relate the question to the correct section of the book, analyze the content, and then come up with an appropriate solution.

You do not need to study for take-home exams – This is also a complete misunderstanding. You have to study as much as you study for normal exams; the only difference being that you do not need to memorize any data. But you should clearly know you can access the information as you need to very quickly find it for answering the question.

You can simply copy from the textbook or course material – This is also completely wrong. Take-home exams will never contain questions that simply need memorizing and regurgitating information. Your interpretative and analyzing skills are key areas of implementation in take-home exams.

The more materials you have access to the better for you – Absolutely not! The question will deal with only a part of your course material and the content you have in your textbooks is more than sufficient. Adding excessive data will only confuse you and move you away from the core idea of the question. Instead of too much data, you must simply focus on your understand and your interpretation of the question and answer appropriately.

How to Pass a Take Home College Exam

If you have been given a take-home exam recently, please remember to discard all the above misconceptions from your mind in the first instance. It is going to be tricky and thus, you need to apply your resources to handing over a well-done paper to your teacher.

You will need to think through the question and apply the question to the study material that you have already mastered, I hope. If you have not learned and mastered your course material, then please finish that task as early as you can. Here are a few proven strategies that will help you clear and even ace a take-home exam:

Make good use of the time given to you – Do not leave your exams for the last-minute. Please spread out the various steps prudently and make sure you stick to the deadline you have given yourself for each of the steps. In today's modern world, submissions of take-home exams are usually done online and hence, avoid any kind of last-minute technical glitch that can arise out of the blue.

Try and quickly review the course material before you attempt to answer the paper. Ensure you read your teacher's notes closely and thoroughly. This will tell you what is important and more often than not these notes will be the basis on which the question has been framed.

Read and understand the instructions given for the take-home exam thoroughly

Many teachers agree that the primary reason students lose out marks on a take-home exam is because they do not read and understand the instructions correctly and accurately. So they end up submitting answers that do not correctly reflect what the question asked.

If the instructions say to answer in 1-2 sentences, then your answer should be in this format only. And when the instruction says sentences (mostly the answer will be hidden somewhere in the course material), do not use bullet points. Remember your work is graded not only on content but also on grammar and the structure of the sentence. Make sure your answer is free from all spelling and grammatically errors.

If the instruction says "write a short essay" then you must refer to the reading material and give points in support of your theory. Please follow the instructions with regard to the formatting of the document too (whether double margin, spacing between lines, etc). Nearly all teachers forbid the use of the internet material for take-home exams and if you, wittingly or unwittingly, copy/paste data from the internet, the teachers will know!

Focus on the question and draft your answers roughly before you finalize it – Since there is no pressure of time like in the conventional exam, you do not have to get the answer right the first time itself. Please focus on the question and make a rough draft of how you want to approach it.

Then work out the details and once you are convinced of all your arguments and the supporting points, only then start writing out your answers. You will feel more confident if you work like this and the flow of the answer when you actually sit down to right will be smooth and without many hitches.

Edit your work – This thumb-rule has no exceptions. All writing work that you submit must be edited. The reason why you can score well in a take-home exam is because you have immense flexibility in terms of time and materials to get the best answer possible by you. An unedited work reflects your disinterest which, in the eyes of a teacher, is worse than a wrong answer. So, please allocate some time to edit and ensure all kinds of spelling, punctuation, and grammar errors are corrected.

Do not do group work or indulge in any form of combined effort for a take-home exam – The only restriction is a take-home exam has is it has to be your individual effort without help from anyone else. So, combined work or group work is akin to cheating on a conventional exam. Your teacher is smart enough to recognize similar content and arguments and if caught, you can be in a lot of trouble including getting plagiarism reports filed against you.

Final Notes

It makes a lot of sense to leverage the advantages of take-home exams such as flexibility in terms of time and materials and work hard towards submitting a near-perfect paper to your teacher. A good grade will uplift the overall grade in your manuscript.

We at Prescott Papers urge you to take these kinds of relatively easy exams seriously and do well in them as they do not carry any excessive stress-related baggage such as time constraints and the need to memorize data.

Our experts who have plenty of experience in writing academic work are standing by to guide and help you through these difficult times. Do not hesitate to contact us for any kind of academic help. Taking help from us will reduce stress for you and also save some time for you which you can use to study for tests and other such things.

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