Many educators believe that if students understand the material, they will perform well on the corresponding test. However, there is more to a test-taking than simply answering questions, and arguably, a large psychological element must be addressed as well as the actual information on the test.
4 Benefits of Taking Practice Tests Before Testing Season
Practicing for tests can help with both of these factors. Here’s a look at the benefits of practice tests:
1. Practice tests give students guidance at to which areas need more attention.
When a student takes a practice test, an easy assessment of which areas have been mastered and which need more attention. As a result, after completing the practice test, the student understands where to focus their study efforts, which allows them to make more responsible and efficient use of study sessions leading up to the real test.
It also boosts the students’ confidence in the areas they have mastered, liberating them from studying repetitively for those sections of the test.
2. Practice tests promote spaced-out learning.
In addition to helping students identify key areas for review, practice tests help to space out their learning. Research indicates that students learn material more effectively if the learning is spread out. In other words, a slow and steady approach to learning is often more effective than a speedy attempt to memorize lots of facts the night before a test.
Practice tests help to promote slow but steady learning because they prompt the student to be prepared for the test well before the actual test occurs. Once the student has taken their first practice test, the student can then follow it with review, followed by another practice test. Repeating this process multiple times encourages the student to spread out studying efforts rather than spending a single night or week cramming, and this yields greater longer term retention, as well as greater success on the actual test.
3. Practice tests help reduce test anxiety.
A lot of anxiety centers around fears over what is going to happen, and unfortunately, test anxiety can disrupt the student’s focus during the test and may cause the student to perform poorly on it. However practice tests can help dissipate this anxiety.
By showing the student what the test is like and even simulating the software or other test-taking conditions, practice tests can help calm the nerves of even the most anxious student. On the day of the actual test, instead of letting their minds slip out of control in worry about what the test will be like, students can relax, completely assured that they understand what the test will be like.
4. Practice tests familiarize students with the style of the test.
In addition to soothing students’ concerns over what the test is like, practice tests also familiarize students with the type of questions on the test. If a student doesn’t understand a particular type of question or a certain set of instructions, the student can then take time to figure out those issues during the practice test so to be well prepared when the actual test happens.
These benefits and many others help to explain why many national test preparation books encourage students to take practice tests. It also makes a compelling argument for the use of practice tests in the classroom as well as during tutoring sessions. Practice tests help students firm up their relationship with the material on the test, and they also help to alleviate psychological concerns.
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Testing season can be full of anxiety and stress for students and educators alike. Don’t miss out on all of the teacher favorite tools and solutions on the School Specialty Test Prep Resources and Technology page. You’ll find everything from classroom management to inclusion tools.
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