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Exam preparation self-assessment

wooden dummy looks at its reflectionRead over the following statements and think about how you have prepared for exams in the past. How do these statements match your experience? The information gained from this self-assessment will help you better prepare for your next exam.

Give each statement a score each from one (this is not typical of me) up to five (this is very typical of me).

  1. I look at the syllabus to check what specific content will be covered on my exam before I begin to study.
  2. My lecture notes and readings are up-to-date before I begin to study.
  3. I read all course announcements and pay careful attention to anything the instructor says about an upcoming exam.
  4. I check that I have the correct information about an upcoming exam (such as how much it is worth, what topics will be covered, and the format of questions) and I ask questions if anything is unclear.
  5. I set out a plan for how I will begin to study the material (for instance, setting out what topics are to be reviewed and by what dates).
  6. I set aside time in the weeks and days leading up to the exam that I will spend studying for each exam.
  7. I find a place to study where I won’t be disturbed and I avoid distracting technology when I study.
  8. I think through different study strategies that I could use to study for the exam and I use a variety of different strategies to study.
  9. I review relevant headings and subheadings from the lectures and/or the textbook.
  10. When possible, I study in a group with other students.
  11. As part of my review of a topic, I come up with and apply my own examples.
  12. I predict likely exam questions and then answer them.
  13. I take practice tests and quizzes by replicating exam-like conditions.
  14. I combine information from a variety of resources, such as my class notes, textbooks, and homework.
  15. I review my mistakes on past exams or quizzes.

These statements are all strategies that you can use to prepare effectively for your exams!

As there are 15 statements in this list, each scored from one to five, your total score can range anywhere from a low of 15 to a high of 75. If you scored at the lower end of this range, below 30, then you need to work on your strategies for preparing for exams. If you scored at the higher end of this range, above 60, then you have already established a sound approach for exam preparation.


Self-assessment survey adapted from the following sources:

Dembo, Myron H., and Helena Seli. (2000). Motivation and Learning Strategies for College Success: A Focus on Self-Regulated Learning, Routledge, 183-185.

Fleet, Joan, Fiona Goodchild, and Richard Zajchowski. (2006). Learning for Success: Effective Strategies for Students. Thompson Nelson, 186-187.