A few days ago, I asked 6 top performing students one simple question:
“Which questions to refect on do you ask yourself after an exam?”
What I ended up walking away with was a messy notepad full of notes, a completely new way of seeing the world, and 8 profound questions everyone (from first grade till Phd-student should ask themselves after having taken an exam.)
Let’s dive in:
Question #1: Focus on the right topics to study
What topics did the teacher emphasize? Did he test the topics he said he would test?
Question #2: Unexpected questions that came up
What unexpected things/topics/questions came up? How can I anticipate this in the future?
Question #3: Laying the foundation to start next time
What are the first 3 steps I will take next time (when starting to study a similar subject or a subject where I have the same teacher)?
Question #4: What I did well is as important as what didn't go well.
What did I do well in preparing for the exam? What will I continue doing?
Question #5: The Pareto Principle: Minimum investment with the maximum outcome.
What could I have focused less on? What has been the 20% investment that yielded 80% of the result?
Question #6: Material to bring to the exam.
Could my preparation for writing the exam have been improved? E.g., print out a summary, bring more pencils, and have a better internet connection.
Question #7: Mindset and how to give answers to questions.
Should I focus more on answering questions by feeling next time? Or write more memorized answers? Keep my answers shorter?
Question #8: Look at how the teacher grades and gives points.
How did the teacher evaluate me? What did she pay special attention to?
The next time you take a test with the same teacher or for a similar subject, you already know what to focus on. This saves a lot of energy and time.
Look at the studying section to get more powerful questions to ask yourself when studying for an exam.