Skip to main content

Critically reviewing an exam can yield useful information to help you grow and develop as an independent learner.  Reflecting on a past exam allows you to note your weakest topics and helps you identify which types of questions you missed (factual or critical thinking).  The information gained from this self-assessment will allow you to move forward in the class and better prepare for the next exam.
You can bring this self-assessment in to a coaching appointment at the Learning Center to help you determine your next steps.

Class Preparation

  • Do you read the textbook before going to class and attempting assignments?
  • How much time do you estimate you spend reading and completing assignments?
  • Overall, do you think you are preparing well for class?

During Class

  • Where do you sit in class, and do you think where you sit impacts your attention/performance?
  • Do you attempt all activities in class even if you are unsure?
  • Do you leave class with questions that you write down for yourself?
  • Are you taking the most complete and effective notes you can be?

Post Class

  • Are you asking yourself “why” to the “what” you are doing?
  • Do you review the PowerPoints and class notes routinely for a short time after each class?
  • Do you revisit or reread challenging material to answer the questions you have from class?
  • Are you completing assignments as effective practice or simply completing them for the score?
  • Are you taking advantage of all the help and resources offered to you?
  • Do you have study partners that you review class notes with? Are these study sessions active and effective?

Exam

  • When did you start studying for the exam? (Hint: Two days before the exam is not enough time)
  • Did you finish with time to check over questions?
  • Could you teach someone else how to approach and answer each question?
  • Did you practice answering all questions again from PowerPoints and on-line homework assignments without any help or notes?
  • Explain what your studying “looks like” if I could watch a video of you doing this.
  • Are your study habits active and engaging or passive and automated?
  • Have you reviewed each question of the exam to see why you got each one right or wrong?

Moving Forward

  • What do you think you could do to improve your success in this course?
  • How can you learn from this exam?
  • What active study strategies do you want to start incorporating?
  • How do you learn best? What study methods are actually working for you?
  • Are you using all your resources?
  • Are you really learning the material or just studying?
  • How will you know when you’ve mastered the information?

Exam Item Analysis

Why did you get each question wrong?  For each question, explain why you think you got it wrong.  Use the choices below.

  1. I didn’t understand what the question was asking
  2. Understood what the question was asking but wasn’t sure about the content
  3. Careless mistake
  4. I didn’t know the material because I didn’t study this or I’m not sure we ever talked about this
  5. Other, maybe there is another reason you can think of
Questions I got wrong Question Type (Recall, Application, Significance, Relationship, Other) Reason I got it wrong (use choices above and elaborate) Where the material can be found (readings, PowerPoints, notes, etc)

Download Word Doc: Exam Reflection Self-Assessment
REMEMBER: The UNC Learning Center is a great resource! Both Peer Tutoring and Academic Coaching can help you create a balanced approach to succeeding at Carolina. Our friendly staff is ready to help—drop by or make an appointment!


Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 4.0 License.
You may reproduce it for non-commercial use if you use the entire handout and attribute the source: The Learning Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

If you enjoy using our handouts, we appreciate contributions of acknowledgement.

Make a Gift