Blue book exam

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This article is about the student examination booklet. For other uses of "blue book", see Blue book.
A typical exam blue book

A blue book exam is a type of test administered at many post-secondary schools in the United States. Blue book exams typically include one or more essays or short-answer questions. Sometimes the instructor will provide students with a list of possible essay topics and will then choose one or let the student choose from two or more topics that appear on the test.


Butler University in Indianapolis was the first to introduce exam blue books.[citation needed] They were given a blue color because Butler's school colors are blue and white; therefore they were named "blue books".[1]

The book[edit]

Blue books typically contain several sheets of wide-ruled notebook paper. Dimensions of the book itself is generally 8.5 by 7 inches, composed of two or three ruled leaves, bound in a sheet of paper and held together by staples. Although the color blue is most common, other colors may be used. The "Green Book" is an environmentally friendly green-colored book manufactured by Roaring Spring Paper Products that is the same size as its blue counterpart but is made with 100 percent recycled paper, 30 percent of it post-consumer waste.[2]


Prevalence of blue book exams varies between institutions and between academic disciplines. Due to their practicality for hand-written essays and their ill-suitedness for problem sets or calculations, blue book exams are more frequent in humanities and social sciences than mathematics or hard sciences.


  1. ^ Kingsbury, Alex. "[1]." "US News and World Report Best Colleges" 22 August 2010.
  2. ^ Whelan, Aubrey. "Green exam books offer students an alternative." The Daily Collegian 5 May 2008.