Learning Technique: Practice Testing

in contrast to literatures on other learning techniques, contemporary research on testing effects has actually used short retention intervals less often than longer retention intervals. (34)

Practice testing appears to be relatively reasonable with respect to time demands. (34)

Students can engage in recall-based self-testing in a relatively straightforward fashion. (34)

Although many studies have shown that testing alone outperforms restudy, some studies have failed to find this advantage (in most of these cases, accuracy on the practice test has been relatively low). In contrast, the advantage of practice testing with feedback over restudy is extremely robust. Practice testing with feedback also consistently outperforms practice testing alone. (35)

The feedback does not have to be immediate, however; in fact, it is better with delayed feedback.

Testing effects have been demonstrated across an impressive range of practice-test formats, kinds of material, learner ages, outcome measures, and retention intervals. Thus, practice testing has broad applicability. Practice testing is not particularly time intensive relative to other techniques, and it can be implemented with minimal training. Finally, several studies have provided evidence for the efficacy of practice testing in representative educational contexts. (35)


Dunlosky, et al “Improving Students’ Learning with Effective Learning Techniques” Psychological Science in the Public Interest 14.1 (2013): 4-58.

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