The one thing you should do before your next exam

Whether you’ve just taken your first exam, midterms or your finals, I am going to tell you the one thing you should do before your next exam.

This one thing is called a Post Exam Review.

A Post Exam Review is an audit of where you currently stand with your exams and grades. It’s an honest look and reflection of what went wrong, what’s working and what’s not working with your study habits.

Doing this kind of a review isn’t just reserved for students who failed an exam or didn’t get the grade they expected.  If you want to improve in any way, the easiest way to do so is to take a step back to self-assess and get some valuable feedback from your professors.

When you do this, you’ll be able to learn from the mistakes or study decisions you made during your last exam and make the necessary adjustments moving forward in your semester.

If you completely failed a class, you should absolutely perform a post-exam review for each of the exams you took in that class.  Especially if you plan on retaking it.  Obviously there was something about either the way you study, take notes or your test taking style that isn’t working in your favor. You want to avoid making the same mistakes when you retake the class.

If you want to do a post-exam review, I am going to teach you the types of questions you can ask yourself to get a better understanding of the factors that could play into the grades you are currently receiving on your exams.

In my personal experience, students make mistakes in 2 different areas.

  1. Lack of knowledge with the lecture material
  2. Lack of test taking skills

Questions to ask to find out if your weakness is knowing the lecture material.

  • Did I read my textbook thoroughly?
  • Where did the material for the questions come from the textbook or lecture?
  • Where my notes detailed enough?
  • Did I quiz myself to see if I actually knew the material?
  • Did I need to know more detail or just big, main ideas?
  • Did I study the right information?
  • Did I know the information but not how to apply it to word problems, essays or scenarios, and case studies?

Questions to ask to find out if your weakness is test taking skills

  • Was I overly tired when I went to take the exam and that affected my concentration?
  • Did I rush through the exam?
  • Did I take too long on each question so I wasn’t able to finish the exam?
  • Did I misread or misunderstand the question?
  • Did I fail to show all my work?
  • Did I forget to review my answers?

There are a lot of factors that go into passing or failing and exam and if you’re really serious about doing the best that you can do, the only way that you’re going to get better is if every single time you have an exam you review it.

Take a look at what worked and what didn’t so that the next time around you can make some adjustments that will help you improve your grades.

Also, professors aren’t perfect. I’ve found many grading mistakes and have experienced many professors dropping questions that most of the students got wrong.

If you want to take this post-exam review to the “A” student level here’s what to do:

Schedule an office hour visit with your professor and do the post-exam review with them.  Tell them what you did to study. Tell them when you started studying. Tell them how you took your notes.  Then go through each question with them to see where the mistakes happened.

If you do this, you are going to get a detailed plan of attack directly from the exam creator. I promise you, that if you take the post-exam review process seriously and make the needed corrections going forward, your grade will go up on the next exam.

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