AFTER: Debriefing the test or exam

Return to Exam Prep

Introduction and IssuesNurturing your mind and body

Self-reflection questions

  • After your test or exam, do you take time to look over the results?
  • After your test or exam, how do you often feel (e.g., relief, still anxious, upset)?


Analyzing the test results

Many students don’t review their exams. They figure once it’s over, it’s over. But what these students fail to realize is that the evaluation stage of the learning process is the most critical. It is here that the student can determine where he or she went wrong and what changes are needed in the future.

An additional problem relates to the common practice of not returning final exams. Some students don’t realize they have a right to see their exam paper. Faculty are also culpable when they don’t reinforce the notion that exam papers are available upon request.

Try reading Analyzing Your Returned Tests.


Celebrating our mistakes

Most of us fear making mistakes as often mistakes have dire consequences such as lost grades, jobs, money, or relationships. However, taking on a different attitude towards our mistakes at university—one of celebration rather than fear—has many positive outcomes.

Try reading Eight Reasons for Celebrating Mistakes.


Nurturing your mind and body

Self-reflection questions

When trying to study, do you have any of the following problems?

  • Lack of focus?
  • Poor concentration?
  • Lack of motivation?

Are any of these problems directly related to

  • Lack of sleep?
  • Poor diet/nutrition?
  • Lack of exercise?



Sleep: Without sleep, you feel tired. When you feel tired, it‘s more difficult to focus and concentrate. If you can’t concentrate, you can’t study well. If you can’t study well… OK, you get the picture!

Try Sleep and the Functioning Student.

Diet: You are what you eat. For a student, healthy food → healthy body → healthy mind. Eating a complete diet including lots of brain foods which will enhance your physical and cognitive well-being. If you’d like information or advice on your diet, call Dial-a-Dietician at 613-549-1232 Extension 224. It‘s FREE!

The Health Canada website allows you to create your own Food Guide based on your age and gender.

Exercise: Exercise improves blood circulation and the increased blood flow to the brain improves focus and concentration. As well, when exercising, your body produces endorphins, a “feel good” hormone. If you can’t get to the gym regularly, don’t despair. Try using your 5-10 minutes “power break” during study sessions for a brisk walk around the block or go up and down the stairs in the library.

Free exercise consultations are also available at Queen’s. To make an appointment, visit Health Promotion.


Hand embroidered pink and blue brain anatomy hoop art

“Brain Anatomy Hoop Art. Hand Embroidered in Pink and Blue.” Photograph by Hey Paul Studios. Used under Creative Commons Attribution License 4.0.

Concentration and focus: For information on improving your concentration, go to our online Reading and Note-Making module.

Motivation: Motivate: 1) to cause a person to act in a particular way 2) concerned with movement. Many of us can feel a lack of persistence, self-discipline, or courage in facing a task. Sometimes we feel the pay-off will be worth the effort, and sometimes we aren’t sure. But we can help ourselves act, by considering our own intrinsic and extrinsic rewards.

See Manufacturing Motivation.

If procrastination is affecting your motivation, find anti-procrastination strategies in our online module Managing Your Time at University.