The 101 Guide to Nail Your Open-Book Examination

With the Open-Book Examination (OBE) fast approaching, here are some lessons we learnt from our first experience dealing with them. 

Open Book Examination days are not as straightforward as they sound. No, you’ll not be able to leisurely flip through your course books writing answers at a snail’s pace. Four hours may sound like a lot, but time works in unpredictable ways, especially during an exam. Here are some tips that helped us the first time around- we’re passing them on! 

Fill out your personal details! 

There are a few things you have to mention in every paper. Your name, your course, etc- the format followed by students last year was- 

  • Name
  • Examination Roll No
  • Programme Name (aka your course) 
  • Semester- 
  • Unique Paper code- 
  • Paper Title- 
  • Date and Time of Examination 
  • Name of College
  • Email ID- 
  • Mobile Number- 
  • Signature-

These details are to be mentioned on the first page of every answer you upload and look like this: 

 Apart from this, on every page of our answers, we had to write our Examination Roll No and signature on the top right and left of the page respectively. It’s a good idea to number your pages, too. Write your page no at the bottom. 

Fill in the email ID and phone number you used for registering on the portal!

 We recommend preparing these pages before the exam so that you don’t have to hastily copy them on every page at the end. 

Since the page with your personal details has to be the first page for every answer pdf you upload on the portal- keep it handy in advance. It’s also probably a good idea to keep 5-6 pages for every answer with your Examination Roll No, signature and the phrase ‘page number’ pre-written on them! In the end, all you’ll have to do is write your answer and the page number, saving you the trouble of writing these on every page during the exam when you’re in a rush. 

To sum it up- prepare your personal details page in advance before the exam. It should be the first page of every answer you write and upload. Apart from that, mention your Examination Roll No, signature and page number on every page of your answer. You can write these details beforehand, too. 

Here’s a page from a guide created by the university that was forwarded widely while we were attempting our exams- 

Here’s a guide to accessing and using the portal circulated last year for the OBE. Click here to access the source and the entire pdf.

Uploading Answers 

The University recommends finishing your paper in 3 hours, and using the remaining one hour for scanning and uploading your pages. However, we suggest that you scan and upload every answer as soon as you’re done writing it. Finished with your first answer? Quickly scan it, upload it on the portal and then get started on the second one! This takes barely 2-4 minutes, tops. 

Sometimes students tend to get carried away while writing answers. It’s best to scan and upload every answer one by one as soon as you’re done with them, rather than saving it all for the end and scanning-uploading all the answers together. 

Scan your answers and upload them in the form of pdfs rather than uploading them one by one in jpg format. Here are some apps you can use! 

If you’re worried about how many words you’ll have to write in each answer- 500-800 words is a good estimate. As each question is for quite a lot of marks- make sure your answers are detailed. Since the questions asked are often very broad and conceptual in nature, you most probably won’t have to face a shortage of things to write about.

Divide Your Time

OBEs feature long answers that need to be detailed. Try to use 5-10 minutes to plan out how you’re going to answer the question, and how you’ll structure your answer. This will help you ensure you don’t ramble while writing, or go blank. 

The Portal often hangs when there are too many students on it. Log in to the portal at least half an hour before your exam if you can, so that you can access the paper easily when it becomes available! 

Don’t be too worried about the portal hanging. Despite gateway timeouts, there’s always someone who can access the question paper and send it to the class group. Just chill and help your batchmates, karma is real.

Richa Shukla, 2nd Year, BA English Hons, Hindu College.

Pre-Written Answers

Some students tend to pre-write answers for questions that have often been repeated throughout all past papers set by the university. While this may sound like a stretch, it worked for a lot of kids- especially for GE papers. 

So basically, I just took up random questions which were repeated in most of the previous year papers. And somehow two of them were there in our obe too, so yay! I had to write only two answers for my GE paper in the end.

Anonymous, in conversation with DU Beat.

However- this strategy works only for papers where questions have little scope for variation. Thus, pre-writing commonly asked questions for your general elective paper might be a safe bet. 

  • Here’s a list of nodal officers you can contact in case of any problems! Click here.
  • To access the previous year question papers, click here. 
  • Click here to access an informative reel with tips on how to deal with anxiety! Remember- it’s completely okay to feel scared. Know that you’re not alone in this. This semester too shall pass. 

Now that we’ve covered an exhaustive list of things you should keep in mind, here’s something you should DEFINITELY not do. 

Let’s try to avoid bribing making the invigilator think you’re stupid, yes? ;)

I hope this brought a smile to your face! Best of luck, and feel free to reach out to DU Beat In case of any more doubts or queries! 

Featured Image Credits- The Quint

Read Also- Lessons From The Last OBE and Tips for The Upcoming One.

Chiransha Prasad

[email protected] 


Chiransha thinks writing in capitals is a personality trait. She lives off the enemies to lovers trope, and is a certified shopaholic.