The value of feedback after exams - Tips for students
By Elizabeth Holtom
18 Jun

Elizabeth Holtom works as a study skills consultant, offering workshops, lectures and Inset to prep schools. Elizabeth is the author of Study Skills: Building the study skills needed for 13+ and beyond 
As you progress through your prep school years, exams start to play an increasingly important part. They help prepare you for the ones you will take in Y8 – either 13+ Common Entrance or CASE/Scholarship exams. The better you are at assessing your results, the easier you will find it to choose what to do to maintain or improve your performance. This will be an invaluable skill to take on to secondary school.
So, you have taken your exams and just got your results.  How are you feeling about them?

  • Delighted? 

  • Devastated?

  • Mostly pleased? 

  • Mostly disappointed? 

  • Relieved?

  • Upset?  

Your feelings are the perfectly natural reaction to your results, whether these are better or worse than you expected or just what you expected. Accept your feelings. They are a vital signpost to what action you need to take next. It will pay off to spend some time analysing your results. 
The feedback forms on the Galore Park website are a handy way of helping you get into the habit of giving yourself useful feedback. There is also a project feeback form and presentation feedback form that can be used at home or in class.

 How are you feeling?
If you are pleased with your results, think about what went well and why. Thanks to your precise understanding of which strategies are working for you, you will be able to carry on using them effectively. Consider what else you might usefully do. 
If you are disappointed in your results, don’t be hard on yourself and don’t give up. Take some time to analyse what went wrong and why. It will help to discuss your feelings and the reasons for them with a teacher, friend or member of your family.
Remember those great quotes from Thomas Edison, the American inventor, – the ones I used in my blog, ‘Stress and its implications for studying
This is how he deals with setbacks:

“I have not failed.  I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”
“Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.”

This positive, can-do approach certainly worked for him. He had a host of patents relating to his inventions: 389 for electric light and power, 195 for the phonograph, 150 for the telegraph, 141 for storage batteries and 34 for the telephone.
Research shows that what you do after you fail is even more important than what you do after you succeed. Thomas Edison is proof of the value of what today we call ‘growth mindset’.  He loved a challenge and was determined, resourceful and resilient - are you?
Once you’ve analysed what went wrong and why, decide what you are going to do about it so you can move on to a better result next time. Thanks to your precise understanding of your performance you will be able to take the right kind of action. You may need to choose a new revision strategy to try out, or a new study habit to introduce or a relaxation exercise to use just before the exam. Study Skills 13+ is full of tips to help you move on.

Remember: “There is no such thing as failure, only feedback.”
happy sad

The better you understand yourself, the easier it will be for you to take good decisions about maintaining or improving your academic performance, not just at prep school but also at secondary school and beyond.

The feedback forms included in this blog post have been taken from our title Study Skills 13+: Building the study skills needed for 13+ and beyond which is a guide to smart learning and suitable for all pupils at Key Stage 3, but is particularly focused on preparation for 13+ entrance exams. It offer a holistic approach to study to give pupils the essential skills and tools they need to learn and revise efficiently.

study skills


Tags: 13+, 13+ Common Entrance, 13+ Revision, 13, 13 plus, 13plus, Author, blog, Common Entrance, Entrance exams, Exam Preparation, exams, future, Learning Journey, practice, Review, Skills, Study, Study Skills, tips

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