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An open-book exam permits the examinees to consult some selected reference sources or materials in the course of answering the exam questions. If the expected benefits of open-book exams are to accrue, the instructors preparing the exam questions must first learn to take advantage of the format. In an open-book exam, the constraints on the depth and length of problems can be less severe, because the reference material serves as a repository of information, thereby relaxing the cognitive demands on the examinee. Here, the examinee's primary task involves only the planning and integration of the solutions of subproblems that are already available in the reference material. The examinee is thus called upon to perform tasks requiring higher level cognitive abilities. It is concluded that a transition from closed-book to open-book exams may require an adaptation period, both for the examiners and the examinees.