Test Anxiety? Want to Get Better Grades? Take More Tests.

Posted on December 2, 2016

Photo: flickr

Have you ever freaked out and forgotten everything you needed to know at the onset of an exam? A study published in the November 25, 2016 issue of the journal Science found clues to the link between anxiety and memory in test taking.

There is a well-established relationship between stress and memory, or anxiety and memory but not well understood. Although stress seems to cause intervene with our short-term memory but not necessarily long-term memory, and recall depends largely on the type of memory being positive or negative.

Back in school, you may wonder why some teachers give so many quizzes in addition to midterms and final exams. Yes, it is to test your knowledge but there may also be a benefit to you and your memory. Numerous studies have revealed improvement in memory on a test with prior practice tests given, a form of retrieval practice, resulting in deeper learning. In fact, researchers say retrieval practice will help you more than highlighting text in a book, or rereading information repeatedly, or most other forms of study.

Practice tests allow you to practice in retrieving information from your memory. While other forms of study may help you memorize information in the moment, it do not necessarily help you practice retrieval so that you can bring the information to mind in the future.

In this recent study of 120 students, researchers realised why retrieval practice is so helpful for test-taking and memory. Researchers at Tufts University found that learning by practice retrieval protects your memory against the detrimental effects of stress. After splitting students into two groups, students from the group who used retrieval practice remembered more words than those who used other study techniques.

If you often experience anxiety taking over when you are about to take a big exam, taking prior practice tests may aid in boosting your ability to remember what you need to know on the big day. It may seem like extra work now, but it’s work that could pay off when it matters most.

To read the full article, please click on link below.


Source material from Psychology Today

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