Open-Book, Closed-Book, or 'Cheat Sheet'? Researchers Test the Merits of Different Exam Types

Like many faculty members, Afshin M. Gharib and William L. Phillips have strong preferences for giving certain types of examinations.

Both men, associate professors of psychology at Dominican University of California, have kept up a running debate on the topic. Mr. Gharib likes open-book tests because the scores result in a normal, bell-shaped distribution curve and do not stress out his students.

Mr. Phillips favors tests in which students can prepare a crib sheet with