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Academic Success Center

(979) 458-4900 9th floor Rudder Tower

Analyzing Past Tests Events


Test Review


Analyzing your strengths and weaknesses on past tests can help you perform better on future tests. If this is your first time analyzing a test, we recommend making an appointment with one of our academic coaches to walk you through the process and help you interpret the results of the analysis. 



1. Complete the top portion of the form below. Be as specific and honest as possible in describing the way you studied (or didn’t study). 

2. Under “Questions missed,” write in the number of the actual test questions that were incorrect on your test. If you missed questions 5, 8, 13, and 29, those are the numbers you should write in that column. 

3. Now, go across the rows of the chart. For example, if you got #5 wrong, determine: 

  • How many points were taken off? 
  • What kind of question or problem was it? 
  • What do you think was the reason you got it wrong? 

4. Look for patterns. Ask yourself: 

  • What kinds of questions did I have the most difficulty with? 
  • Which questions were worth the most points? 
  • What can I do to improve on my next test? 
  • How can I make sure I get more of the high-value questions right next time? 

5. Ask yourself what you still don’t understand about the test or test question(s) that you answered incorrectly. 

  • Did you have difficulty understanding the instructor’s comments? 
  • Write down any questions you need to ask your instructor. 
  • If you have questions for your instructor or want to clarify how you can improve on your next test, make an appointment to discuss these issues. (Don’t mob your instructor at the end of class.)

6. Make a list of what you need to do to be more successful in your next test. Ask questions such as: 

  • How can I make sure I understand the material? 
  • Do I need to manage my time better and spend more time preparing? 
  • How can I figure out what is important to study? 
  • How can I self-test before the real test to see how well I know the material? 
  • What strategies should I use while taking the test? 

7. Look at tests from other courses and see if there is a pattern. What can you learn from your successes and failures? 

8. If you see that you have difficulty with a particular kind of test question, such as essay questions, or if you want to learn more about test taking strategies, enroll in a study skills course or seek assistance from Counseling & Psychological Services, Peer Academic Services, or your Academic Coach. We also have a handout on Strategies for Different Test Formats. 

Past Test Analysis Form

Course                                                                                      Date of exam                                               

Predicted grade                                      Actual grade                                  % of total grade                  

Relevant details of the study process (# of days/time spent studying, special methods used, study environment, tutoring, meeting with instructor, SI attended, etc.)



Question Profile           Reason the Answer was Incorrect
Question missed Points lost *Type of question Carelessness Material unfamiliar Misinterpreted Not completed
*MC = Multiple Choice T/F = True/False Com = Completion
Ma = Matching Ess = Essay Cal = Calculation
For = Formula Der = Derivation WP = Word Problem

Adapted from “The college learner: how to survive and thrive in an academic environment,” by Mary Renck Jalong, Meghan Mahoney Twiest, and Gail J. Gerlack with Diane H. Skoner. Englewood Cliffs: Merill/Prentice Hall. 1996. 


Last Updated: 03/30/2020

Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License. You may reproduce it for non-commercial use if you use the entire handout and attribute The Academic Success Center, Texas A&M University.