MIT: Massachusetts Institute of Technology
UAAP
ACADEX: MIT Center for Academic Excellence

Mastering Tests: Following a Test

Once a test is taken and the grade is received, it can be easy to simply not think about the test again. This is especially true if you receive a less than satisfactory grade, as few of us want to revisit the feeling of not doing well.

However, ignoring test or problem set results is not helpful. It is more effective to find a way to learn from your mistakes and to use what you learn to improve the way you perform on tests.

Rather than accept what you couldn't do on past test(s), consider taking the following steps that will help you to be successful.

  1. Thoroughly read your test and compare it to the notes that the professors usually post to help students understand what they should have been able to do on the tests. Take caution that you never mark or write on the test directly because it may be possible for you to receive more credit, if you talk with the professor.
  2. After looking at the notes on the test, devote some time to studying the test, learning to work the problems, and reading material from the class. While doing so, take notes and formulate some questions.
  3. Look over the test and available information. After doing so, if you feel you have given the class material your best effort, schedule appointments with your TA's, your professors, recitation instructors, your Advisor, and any students who may be able to assist you (even if you did fairly well). Take a list of questions and your untouched test with you. Ask them questions that are specific to the test, along with larger more general questions on the subject itself.
  4. Finally, as part of future study strategies you develop for this class, include information you learned (incorporating ways you were advised) for improving future test performance.