After the Exam
Exams can give you valuable insights into your strengths and weaknesses as a test-taker. Whenever possible, examine your tests after they’ve been graded. If the exam was given during the school semester, your professor will probably give it back to you. If the exam was a final, you may need to make an appointment with the professor and ask to see it. Your finals are especially important in preparing your strategy and course selection for your next semester.
When you get the exam, look through it and study any errors you’ve made. First, make certain you understand why you got points off. It’s particularly important that you do this if later examinations in the semester will cover some of the same material. If you don’t get these points right the first time, you’re not going to get them right on the final.
You can also try to talk to your professor about the exam. Ask for advice about what you might do in the future to raise your grade. You should talk to the professor particularly if you have failed the exam. By doing this, you demonstrate that you are not a lazy or uncaring student and that you take the course seriously. With luck, the professor might offer valuable advice on how to study that will help you on future tests.
“I try to read all questions carefully on my tests, making certain I understand them. One trick I enjoy is to try to translate difficult questions into everyday, conversational speech. That way I have a better grasp of what is being asked and how to answer it intelligently.”
Sometimes teachers make mistakes when they grade exams. If you catch an error, think first about whether it’s worth pointing out to the professor. Since you create an unfavorable impression by suggesting their error, it’s generally not worth quibbling over a few points. On the other hand, if there was a serious error made in grading your exam, by all means point it out.
If you did poorly or failed, don’t get too down about it. Remember this one exam is a small part of a much bigger picture. Later in your life, no one will know what grade you got on a specific test back in school; you probably won’t remember it yourself. Try, as much as you can, to turn it into a learning experience; even if you fail a test, you gain some knowledge that can help you in the future.