Study Tips: Test yourself!

In this edition of our ongoing study tips, we introduce you to the testing effect, another handy (and scientifically proven, read about a study here) method for improving your study habits and information retention.

Effect the testing effect to affect testing… and studying!

The testing effect influences your performance on tests, but it should also have an impact on your study habits. The testing effect is quite simple: once you’ve studied material, you have a higher chance of successfully retaining and recalling at need what you’ve studied by testing, as opposed to continued reviews of the material.

How do I make this benefit me?

Well, change your study habits accordingly. Do you know why making your own flashcards is so effective? It’s because you review the material (by reading it and writing it down) and then you later test yourself on it. Furthermore, if you can’t recall the information on the back of the flashcard, you can flip it over and review it, preparing yourself for future testing. Some scientists believe that the testing effect is not unique to testing, but rather simply an example of the superior learning which results from using knowledge in multiple contexts. That means that you should study information, test yourself on it, and then apply it! Then, rinse & repeat.

Last thoughts:

The testing effect only works if you know the material! If you haven’t studied or learned what you’re testing yourself on, obviously you won’t be able to successfully answer your own questions, never mind those on the real test. Also, remember that this works for not only information, but skills. Whether you’re taking the ACT, LSAT, ISEE, SSAT, SAT, GMAT, GRE, or simply a test at school, you’ll benefit by testing the methods (such as grammatical expertise, or killer geometry skills) and information (such as the meaning of  ‘defenestrate’, or the number of degrees in a triangle) you learn.

Good luck and good studying!


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