How to Use Practice Tests Effectively

No matter what type of material you are trying to study, practice testing is one of the best ways to learn effectively. In fact, according to psychological scientists at Kent State University, practice testing and distributed study are the top two most effective study techniques students can use to increase their learning.

If you want to get the biggest benefit from your practice testing, you need to make sure you’re using this test prep resource correctly. Here are some key tips that will help.

Practice the Whole Experience

Practice tests don’t only measure your knowledge of the material; they also help you understand how you’re going to perform on the real test. Take care to make the experience of practice testing mimic real testing as closely as possible. Find a calm, quiet place to take your practice test, where you won’t be disturbed or distracted, and be sure to follow the rules of the test carefully.

Take the Whole Practice Test

It’s easy to get tired when taking a long test and to start making careless mistakes. You won’t know about your tendency to do this—or have a chance to correct it—if you don’t take the whole practice test in one sitting. If you absolutely don’t have time to do this, at least complete one whole section of the test per study session.

Time Yourself

Part of the challenge of passing any kind of timed test is answering all the questions within the time limit. Set a timer before starting your practice test. When the timer goes off, take a moment to mark all the questions you have not yet answered before continuing with the test. Score yourself first on the portion of the test you completed within the time limit, then on the entire test. If your scores are dramatically different, you know you need to work on time management.

Learn from Your Mistakes

According to the Kent State researchers, practice testing is most effective when students receive feedback about their wrong answers. This feedback doesn’t need to be immediate, so don’t fall into the temptation of flipping to the answer key to check your work after each individual question. Instead, wait until the end of the test and check all your answers at once. This will show you the areas or concepts that you are weak on and will enable you to target them for future study.

Test Early and Often

If your goal is not just to pass an upcoming test but also to learn and retain the information covered on it, cramming is the wrong way to go. Distributed practice, or spreading your study sessions out over time, works much better. The longer the delay between study sessions, the longer you will remember the information. Practice tests as well as sample questions can easily be used for distributed practice simply by waiting weeks or months between testing sessions.

Make Sure You’re Using a Quality Product

For best results, you want to practice the same kinds of questions that will appear on the real test. To do this, you need a practice test that was created by experts based on both the content and format of the real test. In other words, you need a product from Trivium Test Prep. Our materials contain the study resources you need to learn key concepts along with quality practice questions to help you test your knowledge of these concepts effectively.