Testing effect (and why practice testing is key)

  • Posted By: Hannah Grandine
  • July 11, 2017

Testing effect is the psychological finding that trying to solve a problem in a test-facing environment will make a person more likely to remember it than simply reading about the material.

This type of studying is called retrieval practice, and there are three qualifications for this technique to work:

1. The problem must take effort to solve

2. The retrieval (the act of recalling information) must be successful

3. Feedback with correct answers are provided after testing

Though it takes more effort, it has been proven that more difficult retrievals of information, when successful, are better for long term memory than easier retrievals.

So, if you are preparing for a difficult test like the SSAT, the best way to practice is to regularly complete high pressure practice tests and review your answers afterward.

The first study on this concept was published in 1917, and since then there have been multiple follow-up studies on similar concepts, including a 2016 study that we wrote about here.

You can access online practice tests for the SSAT at SSATpracticetest.com and online practice tests for the ISEE at ISEEpracticetest.com.

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