An upper-level student, the leader of a review workshop for one of my classes, gave us a tip during our session the other day that I think is SO USEFUL. It may seem completely obvious, but I definitely didn’t think of it until she pointed it out.
In summary: For open book essay exams that are issue spotters, where you have to identify the issues that need to be analyzed in a fact pattern and the relevant standards and rules for conducting that analysis, MAKE A CHECKLIST. Oh my goodness. Simply prepare a checklist for every type of case you might encounter within the bounds of the course, and make a step by step checklist of what you need to point out when analyzing the fact pattern. So, when you’re sitting in the exam, nervous and forgetting everything you know, you have a guide in front of you! Follow the checklist and just check off each issue once you point it out in your essay one-by-one, and in the proper order. This way you have a clear outline of how to structure your essay AND a handy way to not forget any of the issues.
WHOA. That totally just blew my mind. Ok, so not sure if that explanation made total sense, but I think the idea of a checklist is useful in general for open book exams. Heck, they’re useful even for closed book exams, if you study it carefully and become familiar with it :)