Publication Date



Traditional exam review sessions, typically conducted orally and in class by the instructor, are intended to identify the most frequently missed or problematic question with the intent of helping students perform better on subsequent exams. The shortcoming of this instructor-led activity is that it tends to focus on issues with content or understanding rather than helping the individual student prevent or avoid similar mistakes on future exams. Here, we report that students who performed a more comprehensive out-of-class exam debrief after the first exam significantly improve their exam performance compared with students that did not conduct the exam debrief. We also identify the most common mistakes that students make on exams and the most frequent self-selected strategies to improve their learning. By having students focus on missed questions coupled with addressing deficiencies in their test preparation strategies and behaviors, they likely engage in more self-regulated learning to better prepare for exams and avoid repeating past mistakes.

Author Supplied Keywords

Exam, Debrief, Studying, Learning


Educational tests and measurements; Learning; College students





Document Type

Journal Article

Included in

Biology Commons