What do exam results really mean to me? First, I have to remind you that I am an ETNJ on the Myers Briggs scale which means I need to see relationships between things, analyze them, and make lists for lists. Exam results, the time between exams and getting the results, and even taking exams, is ENTJ heaven. While thinking about it today it occurred to me that exam results mean something different to everybody whether we are pleased or disappointed, are planning next term carefully, or just want to forget all about it until it is time to get on with the next set of courses.
For me, my grades are like a concise summary of my work this year, and a chance to see how, or if, they changed over the years dedicated to studying for my degree. Knowing my marks always gives me something to think about, especially when I consider the difference between the grades I want to get, the grades I expect to get, and the grades I actually earned. In the time between exams and receiving the results I review my notes about content, writing style, process, and approach to the papers. When I engage in that process I have always figured out within a point or two what my actual results will be.
While knowing the results is rewarding, for me, the time between exams and getting the results is really productive, academically speaking. Squaring the triangle between the grades I want, expect, and get helps to ‘debrief’ my study and exam taking process. This year I wanted higher marks on the last two papers I sat exams for, but received the marks I expected after thinking critically about my essays. Why was there a gap in my goal and the outcomes? Surely there are aspects that I can control to improve both the outcome and the experience.
For example, studying four courses during the year is one thing, but sitting exams on consecutive days requires a particular strategy, at least for me. Locating sufficient secondary reading is also important. I will be sitting four papers again in 2014 so thinking about what will be constructive and taking that on board for next term seems wise, especially for an ETNJ. This year my highest marks were on the first two exams while my marks were a bit lower on the last two exams. Were the outcomes influenced by revision time or process, progressive exhaustion, engagement with the material, or all of those things? I have always thought the biggest issues with my exam essays was style and organization in essay writing. After reviewing this set of papers and the essays with the highest marks, content seems like the more important focus.
Here are some questions I have been asking myself this week: Can my exam results help me organize a study plan for the new term? Do they inform what courses I will select? Do my results influence my academic and even professional goals with my degree? The answers are yes, yes, and yes. Happily I passed all of my exams. That is a welcome validation for a year of work. I succeeded at my goal of doing first class work in exams on some papers and maintained upper second marks on the others. That helps me understand more precisely what worked and what did not in my studying and revision plan. Now it’s on to reading Study Guides, selecting courses, preparing a good start for next term and awaiting the treasured ‘Examiners’ Report.’
Caowrites is studying the BA English by distance learning with the University of London International Programmes.