I recommend the same university philosophy exam preparation system,
whether you're sitting a conventional philosophy exam, in an
exam room at your university, or taking an open-book
philosophy exam at home.
You only pay for the services you require, as you need them. The system also ensures that your tuition budget goes further, since tutorials are only used if an essay has presented particular problems.
I strongly recommend that students new to philosophy first take my essay-writing masterclass: it shows you how to organise your thoughts, at the service of a philosophy essay question, in the way the examiners are looking for.
The masterclass will also advise you on how best to take notes and prepare for exams. It is the single most effective thing new philosophy students can do to boost their grades.
My philosophy exam study system is based on a virtuous cycle of reading,
thinking, planning, writing and absorbing detailed feedback.
The aim is to develop a bank of high-quality, checked but personalised essay plans.
If you're lucky, you may find that you have a plan that very closely matches an exam question.
However, even when you have to construct a new plan, in the exam, to suit the question, your bank of plans may be disassembled into their constituent parts, and reassembled: somewhat like Lego building blocks.
Precisely because the plans are constructed from your own, checked materials, they are of high-quality and yet will fully satisfy, and indeed will be in the spirit of, the university's plagiarism and honour requirements.
Essentially, you build a personalised study plan, which will help you create your own bank of essay plans, from the following options:
The precise format of open-book philosophy exams varies between universities.
However, the essential feature is that candidates have access to permitted study resources.
These may include primary philosophy texts, secondary philosophy textbooks,
your own notes and essay plans, etc.
Open-book philosophy exams therefore obviously probe a different set of philosophical skills and understanding than conventional exams.
Open-book exams can be sat under conventional circumstances, in an invigilated, university exam room; or they may be sat remotely, online at the candidate's own computer. There is increasingly sophisticated software available to invigilate remotely, and of course to check for plagiarism.
The time allowed for the philosophy exam may vary too, some university philosophy departments add an extra hour on to the conventional exam time, others allow the exam to extend over 24 hours or more.
I'm often asked how best to prepare for an online open-book philosophy exam,
where you will be taking the exam remotely, probably on your own computer,
with access to your philosophy study materials.
The main challenge is to make sure that you don't inadvertantly violate your university's plagiarism guidelines, by including in your essay scripts too much material that is not your own.
My university philosophy exam study system has evolved to meet this challenge.
With a bank of personalised, checked essay plans, you can adapt your own high-quality materials to meet the demands of each exam question.