Dr. Richard Felder's Study Checklist

Dr. Richard Felder in 1999 wrote an interesting “Memo To Students Who Are Disapponted With Their Last Test Grade”. It was originally aimed to his engineering students, but it’s actually of general applicability, so it’s well worth reporting here.

A link to the PDF of the original memo.

The gist of the following checklist is that if you answer (honestly) “Yes” to most of the questions, you should be confident enough to get a good grade. If you answer “No” to many questions, than a bad grade should not be suprising…

Test Preparation Checklist

Answer “Yes” only if you usually did the things described (as opposed to occasionally or never).


  • Did you make a serious effort to understand the text? (Just hunting for relevant worked-out examples doesn’t count.)
  • Did you work with classmates on homework problems, or at least check your solutions with others?
  • Did you attempt to outline every homework problem solution before working with classmates?
  • Did you participate actively in homework group discussions (contributing ideas, asking questions)?
  • Did you consult with the instructor or teaching assistants when you were having trouble with something?
  • Did you understand ALL of your homework problem solutions when they were handed in?
  • Did you ask in class for explanations of homework problem solutions that weren’t clear to you?

Test preparation

  • If you had a study guide, did you carefully go through it before the test and convince yourself that you could do everything on it?
  • Did you attempt to outline lots of problem solutions quickly, without spending time on the algebra and calculations?
  • Did you go over the study guide and problems with classmates and quiz one another?
  • If there was a review session before the test, did you attend it and ask questions about anything you weren’t sure about?
  • Did you get a reasonable night’s sleep before the test? (If your answer is no, your answers to 1-11 may not matter.)
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