For many students, a crucial component of studying for a rigorous exam is taking practice tests. Practice tests are important because they allow a student to gauge his or her learning and study skills. However, many students make the mistake of worrying excessively about the outcome of the practice test. This can be detrimental to the review process. If you are preparing for an exam and struggling to analyze your practice test results, read on! You may also want to review these tips on how to identify your study style.
Recognizing what is most important
When studying for exams and taking practice tests, it can be tempting to think that the mere act of sitting down and completing the practice test will benefit you. This is only one step. Adjust your mindset so that you recognize that the sheer action of sitting down and completing the test is not what makes a difference; it is what you do after that counts—whether you work independently or with a tutor.
To properly evaluate the results of your practice test, you need to extract data from it. Analyze your answers to acquire information, and then transform this information into awareness so that you can focus on troublesome areas in the future.
One of the primary areas to consider when you analyze practice test results is timing. Is there a particular section of the test where you were able to provide more accurate answers more quickly? Look for patterns that might yield clues about how you learn.
Perhaps you focus more during the beginning of the test or after taking brief breaks. Maybe you remain more focused toward the end because you are less concerned about time limits. Find out what your tendencies are and make appropriate adjustments based on your results.
Types of questions
Now, examine the types of questions that cause you problems. If the practice test only encompasses one subject area, look at your results on essay questions, the multiple choice section, the fill-in-the-blank section, etc. There are a variety of strategies applicable to each type of question, so spend some time researching effective strategies for the areas in which you are struggling.
For tests that cover a range of subjects, investigate the subjects that require more study time, and then concentrate your efforts on those areas.
Level of difficulty
Upon reviewing your incorrect answers, it might surprise you to discover their level of difficulty. Sometimes the questions we answer incorrectly are not necessarily complex. Evaluate the difficulty level of the questions on which you tend to err. This will help you identify where you experience the most issues.
Reviewing the questions
It is not always sufficient to review the number of wrong answers alone—you are going to need to explore a little further to find out what your strengths and weaknesses are. By thoroughly analyzing your results, you are likely to find a study plan that works well for you.
Find out why you are right
Even if you chose the correct answer, it is helpful to assess the topic at hand. Are you able to thoroughly explain your answer? Know why you selected that answer, and try to remember that information.
Find out why you are wrong
It is normal to want to know why some of your answers are incorrect. When you review the questions and your answers, look at all of the incorrect choices and determine why each of them is not suitable. Some reasons may be obvious, but others may be a bit more complex. One answer may be inadequate because of a minute detail.
Remember that you are looking for the best answers
When reviewing incorrect answers, you will probably discover that some answers are not entirely wrong in every sense; perhaps they are simply not the best of the choices. As you take a test and browse your results, keep this fact in mind—test-makers often try to trick students by providing several seemingly correct answers. Learn to identify the most appropriate answer among a group of several appealing ones. Here are some tips on how to best study for a test.
Take away what you can from practice tests, and ensure you equally balance practice tests with studying. Think of a practice test as a tool, and use it to your advantage—in other words, always analyze practice test results!