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3 benefits of practice tests

WEDNESDAY, JULY 01, 2015 19:24 PM

For many students, tests are a cause of anxiety and sleepless nights. The fear of doing poorly on an important exam can cause students to stay up poring over their notes from class. Tests do not have to be a source of anxiety for students, though. With the help of resources like practice tests, students can better prepare themselves for upcoming examinations.

Getting prepared
There are many benefits to utilizing practice tests, and adequately preparing for the final test is a big one. With practice tests, students can get a feel for the types of questions they should expect to see during the test period, and they will also help them understand areas they need to improve on. Prior to taking a practice test, particularly for exams like the Common Core-aligned assessments, ACT and SAT, students can feel overwhelmed by the amount of material they are expected to review and study. After sitting down with their practice test results, however, they can get a better sense of which areas are weakest, noted the Psychology of Learning and Motivation. With this knowledge, they can then focus their efforts in a more productive manner.

Alleviating anxiety
Knowing which subject areas are the most difficult to grasp can help students feel more confident in their studying abilities. If students know beforehand that they didn't do very well on the math portion of their practice test but excelled at science, they can then save time and energy by skipping science preparation and designating more time to mathematical equations. Students should feel positive about using practice tests, as well, because, according to a study in Psychological Science in the Public Interest, practice tests and distributed practicing are two of the most effective study techniques, Educational Research reported.

Another benefit of taking practice tests is the familiarity of material. Using these study materials, students can get a feel for the layout and question types the exams will have and won't be as nervous when answering the questions. They will feel more self-assured because they will be used to reading and analyzing similar question structures.

Timing out the test
Timed exams can be a big problem for students who aren't used to having a strict time limit. With testing exercises, students can take their work home where they can time themselves as they work on questions. Doing these drills will allow students to understand how much time they have to spend on each problem. This way, they can adjust to the timing and be prepared for the final.

Using practice tests can help students get ready for all types of state standards tests. They are definitely tools teachers should look into recommending to their students.