Exam Analysis Tool

After you take your exam, it is important that you do not just forget about it and move on. Here are two major reasons why:

  • Courses and majors tend to build on themselves
    • It will help you prepare for the next exam and the final
    • You may need this information for future courses and your career
  • Developing study and test taking strategies
    • Identifying mistakes that you made can help you avoid those in the future

The Exam Analysis Tool helps you identify better strategies to improve your exam performance. Make sure you're honest with yourself or else it won't be helpful!

Reason for wrong answer

What this means

What to do differently

“My notes were not an accurate representation of what was on the exam.” This may indicate you may want to improve your note-taking skills. Notes are a guide to the topics and concepts that the professor believes are important

It is vital to review your notes after lecture through active studying techniques and compare them with your textbook notes to fill in any gaps.

It may also be helpful to:

  • Compare notes with another classmate or study group to ensure you did not miss anything important
  • Office hours
  • Tutoring sessions
  • Complete practice problems 
“I studied this for memorization, not application.” This is a very common reason for missing questions. This indicates that you need to change your study habits to understand concepts rather than just memorize them.

More efficient study strategies including:

  • Creating concept maps
  • Cornell Notes
  • Drawing figures
  • Forming study groups
  • Completing practice problems
  • Reading your lecture notes and assigned texts before class
  • Reviewing your lecture notes through active study strategies following class will help you understand concepts.
“I misread the question and/or the selection of answers.” This may indicate that you should review some basic test-taking strategies.

Some tips to help prevent this mistake:

  • Circle and underline important words or phrases
  • Cover the answers while reading the question and come up with an answer before you look at the ones given
  • Answer the easier questions first
  • Use process of elimination when answering multiple choice questions.
“I misunderstood this concept” There are many reasons that you could be misunderstanding concepts

It is important to ensure that you’re using active study skills such as:

  • Creating concept maps
  • Complete practice problems
  • Drawing figures
  • Explain material in your own words using study groups, office hours, tutoring, etc.
“I ‘blanked’ on this question.” If it is common that you are blanking on questions, it may be a sign of test anxiety.

Booking an appointment with the Counseling Center will help you learn strategies to combat test anxiety. Practicing good test taking strategies such as:

  • Brain-dumping (writing down everything you are worried you are going to forget as soon as the exam starts)
  • Engaging in active studying rather than passive studying will help you in this area.
“I changed the right answer to the wrong one.” Changing answers often indicates a lack of confidence in yourself.

Useful tools and resources would be:

  • Active studying habits throughout the week to truly understand concepts and be able to apply them rather than just trying to memorize them
  • Pairing these habits with working in study groups will help you feel more confident in your knowledge.
  • Test anxiety or nervousness can also play a contributing factor to your lack of confidence, scheduling a meeting with the Counseling Center to learn strategies may help.

For more information on how to apply this tool to your exams, check out the videos below. 

If you are having trouble applying different strategies to your work, make an appointment with an Academic Coach or learn more about active study strategies.


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