Why Should I Go Over My Test When I Get... The most important reason to go over your test when... . When you see a mistake that you made on... it can

Why Should I Go Over My Test When I Get It Back?
The most important reason to go over your test when you get it back is that it can
improve your grade on the next test and/or help you to continue to have success in the
course. Going over your test can help you improve skills that are needed to do well in the
course. When you see a mistake that you made on the test, you know exactly what piece of the
material you were missing so that you can focus on mastering it. This is important for your future
growth in the course. For instance, if you’re able to figure out a problem you missed in college
algebra, you’ll be in a position to solve more complicated problems later on in the course.
Going over the test can help you improve your study techniques because professors are
creatures of habit and typically repeat the same types of questions, just with different terms and
subjects, on future exams. If you go over the construction of the test, looking at the level of
difficulty, how the point values were distributed, and what the professor took points off for, you
will have learned some valuable information about the next exam. Ask yourself things about
the test such as:
How was the test organized?
Where did the professor take the questions from? What percentage came from
lectures, readings, discussions, or labs?
Were the questions ones that you anticipated and prepared for or did they seem to
spring at you from thin air?
Did you succeed in understanding the main ideas of the course or did you misjudge
what was the most important and what was less important?
Why did you lose the points that were lost? Did you miss the class lecture in which
the topic of a particular question was discussed? Did you skip the reading for that
topic? Did you not understand or remember some key concept or fact? Were you just
stressed out about the exam?
Which questions did you get right on the exam just by guessing?
The answers to all of the above questions will give you excellent information about how you can
improve your preparation for the next test.
Pay particular attention to any written comments that the professor made on your
exam. These often reveal the reason why you received the grade you did and contain
valuable insights about how you can improve. Regardless of whether you gain information
from the professor’s written comments or from the answers you provide to the above questions,
the main thing for you to do is to follow through. Act on what you have learned and change the
way you prepare for the next exam if you are not getting the results you want.
Author: Shirley “Mandy” Sexton, Ph.D.