A post-exam review is the farthest thing from most people’s minds after a gruelling test. A moment’s reflection, however, may impress you with the wisdom of it.
Returning to our analogy of the mental radar, you may perceive a valuable lesson in reviewing at this time.
- The exam is exceedingly fresh in your mind; you are still fairly clear about its contents. Your radar will pick up topics on the exam if you glance through the textbook now.
- There will be other exams in the future, either in this subject or another.
- At no time can you gain more from review than while the experience is uppermost in your mind. Even when you get the exam paper back you may not be able to reconstruct your thoughts of the moment.
- Now is the time to set your mental radar flags for the study sessions to precede the exam to come, especially with regard to the strategy of how to study.
Return to your room and jot down the topics covered by going through the textbook or the treated portion thereof. This is not to be a groan-session, like those unhappy little gatherings where all the losers are comforting each other. Just as a business man analyzes a day’s work, or a salesman mentally reviews the successes and failures of his calls that day and resolves to avoid the same errors, you are, then and there, in a perfect position to make a self-appraisal that will pay dividends later on.
Although you will naturally be more eager to check over a midterm exam than a final, the chance of profiting from the TYPES of mistakes you made will be great when it comes time for the next exam, even by checking over your preexam strategy when there are no further exams in that course.
You are to observe the kinds of questions you answered well and the kinds you missed. The emphasis is on the word, kinds!
Perhaps you note a chronic misinterpretation, on your part, of pros and cons of theories. Or your use of a two-column vocabulary list in a foreign language now shows that it paid off. Write down these ideas. Your best homework help might have been in factual material, but you may have slipped on thought questions. Or the thought questions would not have been so bad, if you had had only a little more factual knowledge. Or maybe you failed to pay adequate attention to pictures, graphs, diagrams, and maps.
All this is not wasted review. It is not intended to make you feel blue, if you learn that some things you thought you got right were not, after all. The review is especially valuable when this happens. You should immediately think back about the manner of studying you used when you went over that particular material the day before. What did you do wrong while studying it? The post-exam review can bring revisions in studying methods that may pay off all your life.
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