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Take-home tests are a special variety of essay exams, the difference being take-homes are completed outside of class. They share the other characteristics of essay tests: subjective, evaluate students' understanding of concepts, evaluate students' abilities to interpret and apply information, and evaluate students' abilities to organize information.


  • Take-home tests are usually graded, in part, on the students' abilities to synthesize information from a variety of sources. It is therefore necessary to include information from all relevant sources including: lecture, textbook outside readings, movies, and guest speakers, in your answers.

Avoid Plagiarism

  • Plagiarism, or using someone else's ideas without giving them credit, is against the student codes of all schools. Do not take direct quotes from a printed source without using citations. Avoid excessive use of the words and ideas of others.


  • Never turn in a take-home test without proofreading it or having someone else look it over. More will be expected in the way of organization, logical transitions between ideas, grammar, punctuation, and spelling on take-home tests compared to in-class exams.

Do Your Own Work

  • Instructors can easily spot take-home tests completed by students who worked together. Write your own answers. Make your test unique. Make it stand out from the others.

Don't Wait Until the Last Minute

  • Take-home tests are usually more difficult because you have to write more, include more details, and make critical evaluations.
  • Take-home tests require a significant time commitment. Begin the test early enough so you have plenty of time to do a first draft, have it proofed, do a final draft, and have it printed.



Like take-home tests, open-book tests may be more difficult than closed-book tests because the instructor usually has higher expectations of the quality and quantity of information to be written by students.


  • Prepare thoroughly before the test so that you don't lose time looking for answers in the book. Use tabs or "post-it" notes to briefly describe and label important sections of the text. Prepare summaries of major concepts, listing key points and relevant page numbers.

Work Through the Test Quickly

  • If you can't find the answer after a few minutes of searching in the book, flag the question and move on. Return to that question as time permits, after you have completed the other questions. Avoid excessive search time in the book.

Avoid Plagiarism

  • Do not take direct quotes from a printed source without using citations on open-book tests. Paraphrase the information and cite the page number from which the material was taken.