• Delhi University conducted online open-book exams in 2020 due to COVID-19 pandemic.
  • In open-book exams, students are allowed to have their textbooks and other approved reference materials. They can check the material while writing their answers. The ability to find, analyse and apply the information will be tested through this type of exams.
  • The United States and some other countries have already implemented open-book exams in higher education. In India, the concept of open-book exams is being discussed in the past few years. Some experts are recommending these exams to reform the Indian education system. And some others are against this alternative to normal exams.
  • Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) has also tested open-book exams from 2014 to 2018 to make the exams suitable for all the students, who have different abilities & strengths.
  • Karnataka state too tried implementing open-book exams.


  • Open-book exams can eliminate rote learning, which is deeply ingrained in the Indian education system. As they will analytical skills, students will be encouraged to be analytical & creative.
  • Memory-based exams often award the students that have better memory and are a cause of worry to students, who can understand the concepts but cannot memorize. Open-book exams can be a boon for the students, who have different learning abilities.
  • Without the fear of memory-based tests, students can peacefully learn concepts. At present, students are concentrating more on preparing themselves for exams rather than on conceptual understanding.
  • Open-book exams can reform the method of teaching and can improve the quality of education.
  • It can also eliminate cheating & copying.
  • Many are of the opinion that students will just copy the content from the textbook. But the questions in open-book exams are formulated in such a way that analysing the content is required.
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  • Fear of exams encourages many students to study. With open-book exams, students may not focus much on their studies.
  • In India, there are many coaching centres that prepare students for various exams. They may provide model answers for all the concepts, which can be memorized. This can dilute the purpose of open-book exams.
  • Memory training is also important, especially for children. Open-book exams may discourage students in memorizing even the basic things.
  • As the evaluation in open-book exams will be tough, it may put even more pressure on students.
  • Fear of forgetting the content will be eliminated.


  • If students are not guided well to give open-book exams, they may just copy what is in the textbook. And it will not serve the purpose for which the exams are held.
  • Training a large number of evaluators in the new evaluation method is also a challenge.
  • The lack of quality teachers in India will be a serious challenge in implementing the new way of teaching. Students in some high-quality schools will be at an advantage over other students.


Open-book exams can bring a revolutionary change in the Indian education system by reforming the method of teaching. But it may not be suitable for primary education and will be useful in higher education. Not just open-book exams, but testing different kinds of exams as an alternative to memory-based exams is much needed to improve the quality of our education system.
Photo by Roxanne Minnish from Pexels

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  • P. Kolandasamy, Puducherry, Jun 20, 2021 @ 6:12 am Reply

    Yes, open-book exams can bring a revolutionary change in the Indian education system by reforming the method of teaching. Our examination concept to be modified. Exams should expose the talent & knowledge of the students, not what they don’t know. We have to examine IQ, not memory.

  • Kaisary Khatun, Apr 12, 2021 @ 9:58 am Reply

    According to me open book exam is not good for students. If open book exam will started in India then our indian education system will be change. It’s effected in students. Students could not gained there knowledge, that times there haven’t any fairness because they know they are copies the answer in there exam. Good students actually who wants to good life and good carrier they will have not gotten success it’s bad effects in students. Some students have they are not interested for study, it’s good for those students who didn’t want any study, if open book exam will started this students takes interested for exam and they will qualified and took a certificate it’s good for those students. Teachers have been a responsibility for students if open book exam will started teachers also free because they know their have not any responsibility. Now days in school and College are stopped our exam is online exam. In this situation exam time all students give there exam in online and they are copies to the answer in Google and paste in exam copy. In my point of view open book exam is not good for students. it’s lost so many good students carrier.

  • Tinku paul, Aug 21, 2020 @ 8:53 am Reply

    According to me open book exam – if it will start in india then first of all teaching method should be changed . In lower class it is not possible but for higher study it is good proposal. But in my opinion many student will not study carefully they will think when they will go for exam they will write from their books and reference books but if they will not study carefully then they will not be able to gather their knowledge . May be they will qualify. Besides this, many teaching institutes are there , they will loose their job, many student goes to the institution to take the tuition .if open exam will start then they will not spend their money. If open book exam will start then student does not need to cheating and no question will arise to leak the question paper because student when don’t prepare for exam I e they have to cheating and try to get the information which one question will come in the exam I e leak the question paper. Then open exam will start then student does not go for any malpractice.

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