Oct. 3, 2022

Self-Reflection on your Grades

After tests or exams, you might be tempted to move on to focusing on upcoming topics, especially if the grade you received was not what you aimed for. However, a crucial part of learning is understanding yourself, your skills, and what you learned from the course. Taking time to reflect on how you preformed can give you the insight needed to improve your study habits and understand your strengths.
Person looking outside with reflection

Use this checklist to reflect on the strategies you used to prepare for your quiz, test, or exam.

Start out by documenting the course, test, and grade information.

  • Course                                                
  • Test Worth %
  • Type of Test
  • Grade Received

If possible, start out this self-reflection before going into the exam. If not, try your best to recall what made you preform best and the strategies you utilized while studying.

Before the Test  

Questions to ask yourself

How many hours did I spend preparing for this test? When and where did I typically study?

Which of the following activities did my preparation include?

  • Attending class regularly
  • Reviewing lecture materials after class/ regularly
  • Creating a test-prep schedule to ensure I covered all material
  • Self-testing
  • Group studying or teaching someone else
  • Making sure I knew what I could/could not bring into the test
  • Creating concept maps, tables, diagrams, or other graphic organizers.
  • Studying all relevant materials (e.g., notes, lectures slides, D2L, videos, readings, practice problems, etc…)
  • Using memory tools (e.g., mnemonics, chunking, visualization, rhymes, rehearsal etc.)
  • Practicing the style of questions on the test (e.g., MC, short answer, long answer, problems)
  • Taking care of myself physically (sleep, physical activity, eating nutritiously)

After Completing the Test

What test strategies did I use during the test?

  • Skimmed through entire exam to better manage my time and know what to expect
  • Brought a watch and extra writing tools
  • Scanned through entire test before starting
  • Brain dumped key concepts onto back of test/scrap paper
  • Allocated time based on value of questions
  • Started with high value questions or the ones about which I was most confident
  • Skipped questions when I got stuck, circled and came back later
  • Used relaxation strategy if I became anxious
  • Covered multiple choice answers and answered from my head before looking at options
  • Highlighted or underlined key words in test questions to ensure I understood

After the Test has been Graded

Tip: If possible, it is a good idea to review your graded test with your professor or ask if the exam will be discussed during class.

  • How much of the test did I complete?
  • How much time did I have left at the end?
  • Did I check over my answers?
  • How did I lose points?
  • Illegible writing
  • Didn’t show my work
  • Factual errors
  • Small math errors
  • Forgot permitted materials (e.g., open book, calculator, notes page etc.)
  • Misunderstood the question(s)
  • Struggled with question Format (e.g., MC, short answer, long answer, etc.)
  • Difficulty with expressing myself in English
  • Ran out of time or did not complete all questions
  • Skipped questions or forgot to answer questions
  • Technical issues with online testing
  • Concentration impacted by the test environment (noises, timers, announcements, etc.)

Plan for Next Test

Moving forwards, it will be a good idea to further reflect on the strategies that were successful for you in preparing and writing your test.

  • Effective practices I will maintain for the next test:
  • Things I will stop doing for next test:
  • Different things I will try for my next test:

Regardless of the outcome, realize that everyone has challenges with exams from time to time, but by better understanding yourself and the unique ways in which you work best, your ability to perform well on exams will improve.