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Self-Testing May Be Highly Helpful In Studies

Updated on April 28, 2014

As soon as students hear the word "test", they will immediately think of the tests that are conducted in their schools or colleges. The fact is that tests have become a routine affair and they are conducted to check if the students are fit to move to the next level. Marks and grades are a part of every test that is conducted in educational institutions. There are ranks also which means that the teachers and professors will gauge and compare performances of students. This again means that there are externally-mandated requirements that include competition among students. Whether students and their parents like the concept of 'testing' or not, it appears that the concept will continue to stay for ever. Under these circumstances, students can use the tool of self-testing for checking whether they have learned the lessons effectively. Even experts agree that self-testing is a powerful and sophisticated tool for promoting learning.

Students Can Create Their Own Self-Tests

If you, as a student, create your own test, you can grasp the subjects more easily. In general, when your school or college announces examinations or tests, you may be preparing for answering the questions but whether such a preparation will help in comprehending the lesson is a big question. This means that you may never get fresh insights into your lessons if your preparations do not involve efforts to comprehend the subject. If you create questions of various types or various formats, you will be able to view the lessons with new perspectives or angles. But you should make sure to develop questions that require not only direct and open-ended answers but inferential and analytical ones as well. The questions should consist of types like short-answer questions, elaborate essays, multiple-choice questions and match-the-following and fill-in-the-blank types and with the help of all these types of questions, you will be able to penetrate the lessons more effectively

It is up to you if you want to answer these questions in a typical exam-like condition or otherwise. You can even attempt answering them orally also. But during the course of taking the self-test, you can refer to the texts if you are not certain of an answer to a particular question. If you are not able to get the right answer even after referring to the texts, you can seek the help of your professors or peers. The ultimate aim is to be thorough with the topic.

Since you will be dissecting the subject with various types of questions, you may gain new insights and these may induce your curiosity also. So, you may seek the help of your teachers or may even refer to materials other than the text books or even browse on the Internet.

Delayed Recall Is One Of The Greatest Benefits Of Self-Testing

Researchers like Henry Roediger, Jeffrey Karpicke and their team have established that self-testing may help in improving what is known as "delayed recall" of the topics studied. These researchers further add that self-testing may help in long-term retention of the topics learned. This means self-tests are much better than repeated studies or concept mapping. These psychologists are of the opinion that it is the retrieving act that helps in remembering the topics for a very long period.
Self-testing helps in checking the effectiveness of your studies. If you are not able to answer a few questions properly, you may have to review the topics once again or you may have to change the way you have studied. One of the reasons that may have caused difficulties in answering questions may be that you have not done an in-depth study of the topic. In short, self-testing may help you in checking if your study habits are effective. The concept may also help you in sharpening what is known as the meta-cognitive awareness. Meta-cognitive awareness indicates how the inner faculties of a person operate. You can know if you are able to focus on the topics or if your mind drifts away. Simply put, optimizing the study habits is possible with self-testing.

You can talk to your peers also about self-testing so that everyone can create questions using their own perspectives. This will help the entire group to comprehend the lessons more effectively. In short, you and your peers will not only be able to crack the tests but will also "learn" the lessons in the real sense.

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