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Academic Integrity - Referencing, Citation & Avoiding Plagiarism: Open Book Exams and Referencing

This guide explains what referencing and citation is and how to use the APA, Chicago, Harvard, MLA and Vancouver Styles. It includes links to each style guide.

Open Book Exams and Referencing infographic

Open Book Exams and Referencing

Open Books Exams are designed to asses how you analyse, evaluate, synthesize or create knowledge. The ability to recall or repeat factual information is less important in open book exams. You are still required to be familiar with your subject area in order to write critically in exams. Correct in-text citation and referencing are part of writing critically.

Here are some tips on preparing for these exams.

Do you need to cite?

Know in advance whether you are expected to include in-text citations and references in the exam. Find this information from Brightspace instructions or contact your lecturer directly.

Which Style?

Know which citation style you are expected to use in each exam. Check with your lecturer and use UCD Library's School Citing Style for style advice.

Collect your references

Have a list of correctly formatted relevant references in advance of the exam.

Organised Notes

Create organised notes you can easily navigate during your exam. Include clear indications of which citations to use for each part of your notes.

Books and course materials 

Have your books or course materials marked with sticky notes indicating relevant sections for different topics. Make sure you can quickly find each section you need in an exam.

Download eBooks 

If you are using online books, try to download the relevant sections in advance of exams. This will help avoid access issues. Note: not all eBook platforms allow this, but give it a try.

Swapping answers

It is not allowed to swap answers with friends. Even though you might find this easier to do or very tempting, this is academic misconduct and is not acceptable.


Your own work, your own degree, your own achievement