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How to best answer debatable (open) questions

Published on 22 October 2018·Latest update at 25 March 2019

Answering debatable questions or ‘open questions’, so any other type of question beside multiple choice, can be hard to answer. They can also lead to a lot of stress, while you have to stay calm during the exam. If you don’t know how to form a good answer, use the advices we give you here.

Use a draft

Often, you get extra paper with your exam to write notes and drafts on. When you don’t get this, ask for it. Write down all the keywords that you think of while reading the question, on your draft paper. Think about what is discussed in college and what you have studied. Because you write this down in keywords, you might be able to visualise the lessons and get some memory back.

Use a structure and support your answer

Always use a good structure in your answers. Also, don’t just give an answer, but support your answer with facts or sources to prove that this is the right answer. An easy way to create structure in your answers, is to always repeat a part of the question, before writing down your answer.

Write your answer as broad as possible

If there isn’t any specific tolerated amount of words, write everything down you know about the topic of the question. Of course, you don’t want to spent too much time on it, but make sure you write everything down that could give you points. Also, when you don’t know the exact answer they ask for, write down what you do know. Maybe you can get some of the points this way.

Re-read your answer after you’ve finished the exam

When you are done answering all the questions, read your answers one more time. Maybe you remember something you’ve forgotten the first time. So you can add that to your answer, to maybe get more credit. Always leave one or two lines blank in between your answers, so you can add something there later.

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