Often, students spend all their time studying and preparing for exams before they take a test. Did you know though that some of the most important studying and preparation comes after you take exams?
One of the best ways to prepare for future exams and to ensure that you understand course material is to analyze your exam after you take it! This ensures that you are thinking critically about your learning and preparing the best way possible for your next exam.
When you receive your test back from your instructor, first examine the questions you answered correctly.
- How did you study for this information?
- Why did you get this question right?
- What can you learn from it?
Use this information to help you prepare for your next exam. Identify what strategies worked for you when you were preparing for this test, and be sure to use them again.
Next, look at the questions you answered incorrectly.
Identify why you answered incorrectly:
- Was it a content mistake? Meaning:
- You never saw the information.
- You didn’t study the information.
- You studied the information but learned it incorrectly.
- You studied the information but could not recall.
- From these content areas, see if you can identify if your mistakes were coming from the same section.
- Do you need to go back and review a chapter section?
- Would it be helpful for you to review this with the professor, a TA, or a tutor?
- Was your error in the application of the material? Meaning:
- You studied and recalled the basic information but could not apply it to higher order thinking problems.
- Did your error have to do with how you approached the tests? Meaning:
- Did you misread or misinterpret a test question?
- Were you too impulsive or overconfident on certain tests questions?
- Was it test fatigue?
- Was your pacing off for the test? Were you running out of time?
Use this information to help you adjust your studying for the next exam.
Make an appointment with a learning instructor at the Weingarten Learning Resources Center for more help on how to make the most of your exam analysis. Here is a link on our exam analysis appointment protocol. We are happy to help you think more critically about your class, about what you learned, and about how to prepare for your next exam!
Blog adapted from resources prepared by Dr. Ryan Miller, Executive Director of the WLRC.
By: Kelcey Grogan, Learning Instructor