Looking at marked exams offers both immediate and long-term benefits. You can use returned tests or exams to learn about how the instructor constructs exams.
• What patterns do you see in types of questions asked?Answering these questions can help you prepare more effectively for the next test or final exam in the course. Final exams also offer useful information about your skills.
• Do the test questions put more emphasis on lecture or text notes?
• What does the marked test reveal about grading patterns?
• Which study and test-taking strategies were most successful?With multiple choice exams, students are often allowed to take the question sheets with them when they leave an exam. After an exam, you can compare your answer sheets to the correct answers posted by the instructor. If essay exams are not returned, you can request to see your marked exam and evaluate your strengths as well as where you need to improve.1
• Which ones need improvement?
You may even use an analysis of your test-taking skills to influence course choices in the future.
• Which courses, or specific course sections, use testing methods that match my skills?
So, next time you get a test or exam returned to you, remember you’re not done with it yet! It’s also important to look at what you did that worked. Don’t miss this important opportunity to evaluate your study and test-taking habits, and to help you prepare for the next exam. And, don't forget the LAC! LAC tutors would be more than happy to sit down with you post-test and help you evaluate what went wrong and what went right!
University of Texas has a useful page on preparing for and then evaluating your test results
See this Middle Tennessee State University website for a dozen practical
reasons to look over your returned tests:
1 See the “Worksheet for Examining Returned Tests” in Longman, Debbie Guice, and Rhonda Holt Atkinson. College Learning and Study Skills. 2nd ed. St. Paul: West Publishing, 1991. p. 200.