Academic Self Assessment

For most of you, it is likely that you have gone through your first round of exams this year. Congratulations, you made it! Although you may not feel great, a great practice to get into is self-reflection. Prepare yourself for the next round of exams by learning from your most recent experiences.

Take a moment to sit down and breathe. Think about the time you put in, the sacrifices you made and the late nights and early mornings of studying you made time for. Make a list of all the things you did to prepare for each exam and think about what you could do better for next time. Here are some study tips that might be worth trying:

  • Make flashcards on Quizlet. Quizlet is a website where you can make virtual flashcards. While I am sitting in lecture, I have my Quizlet set for that class pulled up next to me and while my professor is talking, I take notes and make flashcards. This is a great method because it saves me from having to go back later to make flashcards.
  • Write things out. A lot of the time it is easier to just read over our notes and call it a day, but studies show that when we write things out, we retain information better. This advice also applies to notetaking. Rather than taking notes on a laptop or tablet, writing in a notebook enables your brain to create spatial associations with words and concepts on your page which helps with information recollection later on.*
  • Start studying now. This may sound absurd because I am sure many of you want to take a long break after cramming for your past exams, but if you study gradually over time, you will thank yourself in the long run! Think back to your mental state when you had to cram for an exam. For me, I feel tired and depleted. I don’t have time to work out or eat properly and I am never myself around my friends and family. It also takes me a really long time to recover. When you take a little time each day to study for your classes, you are practicing self-care, preventing a mental breakdown and maximizing your brain capacity.

As you are continuing to reflect, I would highly recommend going over your past exams with a TA or an instructor. More likely than not, questions from past exams appear on the midterm and final exam and you would be amazed to see how easy it is to recall those answers after one sit-down meeting. These meetings can be scheduled through email and most TA/instructor emails can be found on your syllabus. Trust me, you’re going to want to do this. Also – if they offer office hours, they really DO want to meet with you!

All in all, take ownership of your learning and get a step ahead by consciously taking the time to learn from your failures and successes. You have potential and you are very capable so learn to tap into that and be the best you can be. It will help you now as a student as well as later as a working professional!