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Suppose I took an exam and did poorly on it. Would it be good to try and redo those questions again without looking at the answers? If so, how long should I wait before I try those questions again and what should I do in the mean time?


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up vote 3 down vote accepted

If you just redo the exam on your own without any practice/learning in between there will not be much of an improvement IMO. My approach would be to go over the topics/questions asked and single those out where you think (or already know) that you did poorly. Then sit down and get some learning/practice done on these topics until you feel confident that you are able to give an decent answer.

As for the timing: start now. We all tend to procrastinate and you will feel better if you know you can do better the next time.

Protip: use your contacts to your fellow students to learn in teams or to get your hands on exams done in the recent years.

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I wouldn't recommend simply trying to redo the questions without reviewing or looking at your original answer. I've always found that it's more valuable to look through my incorrect answers to identify why I got it wrong. For example, on math questions, looking for the step where I went wrong (since I usually manage to get at least part of it right). On short answer and essay questions, it can be harder (unless the points are taken off for spelling, grammar, following instructions), but usually the notations made by the grader will help me identify why I scored poorly.

Obviously, when you score poorly on an exam, you might still be lacking the requisite knowledge when you go to review. Take the exam to your notes, textbooks, classmates, and teachers! Make sure you understand what it is that led to the score you got, and do your best to (re)learn it.

After you've put time into that, it might be worthwhile reviewing by retaking the test you originally took, but in general it's not going to gain you much to just retry it as soon as you get your score back. That would be a little like trying to drive a car that's out of gas without taking it to the station first.

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If it is a practical question like Maths or Programming etc. then YES otherwise you should look for the answers immediately.(Discuss/ Read). My idea behind this is when we go wrong the quest for knowing it right is immediate. Its normal human tendency trying to forget it. If we know the answer with immediate effect we remember the mistake and the solution both for a longer duration.


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