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Review Returned Tests

How to Review a Chemistry Test


A bad grade can leave you near tears.

A bad grade can leave you near tears.

Anne Helmenstine
A test isn't over the moment you turn it in for a grade. When the graded exam is handed to you, you have an opportunity to improve your grade and master concepts. Here's a look what you should do when your test is returned and how you can use the exam as a learning tool.
  • Check the Point Value
    Look for mistakes in grading. Make sure the points add up for each problem and for the entire exam.

  • Get the Right Answers
    If your instructor reviews the test in class, you have a chance to get the right answers for questions you may have missed and to learn ways to improve answers for questions you got right. If the test isn't reviewed, make certain you find out answers to missed questions. Many instructors use questions from tests in mid-term or final exams.

  • Review the Entire Test
    Do this even if you answered every question perfectly. Reviewing the information helps commit it to longterm memory.

  • Note Instructor Comments
    If your instructor took the time and effort to write a comment, you should read it. Sometimes comments may help you answer a question more efficiently. It's possible you were given credit for an answer, yet told you will need to be more complete if the question reappears on a future test.

  • Look for the Source of the Questions
    Were the questions drawn from the lecture? Lab? Text? Do you need to pay more attention to a particular aspect of the course to do well on the next test? Notice the type of information your teacher found important enough to include on the test.

  • Review Your Study Skills
    Did you study the right material for this test? Did you study the right way? Look for ways to improve the way you study and what you study so you can do better on the next test.

  • Ask Questions
    Ask questions while the test is fresh. If you can, ask questions in class because this gives you, your classmates, and the teacher a feel for problem areas and a basis for discussion. Questions after a test can help you to learn the material even more than questions before the exam.

  • If You Have More Questions, Talk with the Instructor
    This serves two purposes. It gains you personal help and demonstrates interest in improvement.

  • Use the Test to Study
    If you get to keep the test, use it to study for future exams. This is especially important if you will take a cumulative final exam. Questions may come directly from this test. Otherwise, the types of questions and example problems will help you know what to expect.

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