contributed by: Joshua Holden
go back to category: Reading & Writing


Starting after the first exam, students fill out exam reflections on study habits and performance.

Class information

Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology (RHIT) is a 4-year private science and engineering college. Calculus at RHIT is taught in sections of 25-30 students, 10 week quarters, 5 days/week, one class period/day. My sections are taught in a tablet room. Each day incorporates some active learning. Students are math, science, and engineering majors. They are very good at numeric and symbolic manipulation but have varying degrees of comfort with more conceptual aspects of mathematics. On the whole they tend not to like writing assignments.


Starting after the first exam, students fill out exam reflections.
  • “Worksheet” page with reporting and planning
  • Very simple rubric –completeness and thought
  • General feedback in class as part of exam review

Description of activity

Questions varied, but a sample list might be:

Post-Exam Reflection
1. How satisfied were you with your score on this exam?
2. Approximately how many hours did you sleep the night before this exam?
3. When did you start preparing for this exam?
4. Approximately how many hours did you spend preparing for this exam?
5. What percentage of your test-preparation time was spent in each of the following activities?
6. Now that you have looked over your graded exam, estimate the percentage of points you lost due to each of the following types of mistakes.
7. If you ran out of time, what could you do to increase your speed on the next exam?
8. (a) Based on your responses to the first three questions, name one to three things you feel you did well in preparing for this exam and should continue.
(b) Based on your responses to the first three questions, name one to three things you could do differently in preparing for the next exam.
9. Is there anything the professor might be able to do to help the plan that you have laid out above? If so, name one thing.

Other versions are posted at:


Development of this activity was funded by the Consortium to Promote Reflection in Engineering Education (CPREE).


This exercise was taken from Susan Ambrose et al.'s How Learning Works, Appendix F, and Linda Nilson's Creating Self-regulated Learners, Chapter 6. Reflective thinking can deepen student learning, but students need guidance and practice to develop it. According to Nilson, “[W]rappers […] designate activities and assignments that draw students’ attention to self-regulation before, during, or after regular course components. […] Wrappers not only enhance students’ performance on the regular course components but also teach them how their mind works and how to make it learn and perform better."

Related Activities

This activity followed the daily Homework Confidence Reflections and the weekly Mind Dumps.


Immediate goals for this exercise include:
  • Self-assessment of preparation and expectations
  • Showing value of reflection

Broader goals include:
  • Reflection for self-assessment and metacognition
  • Transition to college
  • Frequent reinforcement
  • Student tools for the future
  • Low workload –sustainable


Anecdotally, students on the whole feel that the exam reflections were helpful.