Students can use practice exams to help them better understand the topics in their study guides before taking an exam. Katie Bowman, Surry Community College, and the WebAssign Content Team shared their best practices and tips for creating practice exams that will help students prepare for upcoming exams.
Get Started with Practice Exams
Study guides are great for practicing exams. Professor Bowman’s study guide is a list of topics that students can complete on their own. Then, they will review the material before taking the final exam. Students can engage in course topics through practice exams by answering questions that correspond to their study guide.
Professor Bowman starts her practice-exam prep with a review of the quizzes and tests she has been assigned throughout the semester. She then chooses questions that are most useful for students to review. She chooses questions that are similar to the actual test.
Professor Bowman attempts to include equal numbers of questions from each chapter in the practice exam. Depending on the main topics she covered, some sections may have more questions than others in the practice exam. Because of this, there may be an additional question or two that reflect the extra time she spent in class discussing the material.
For the best student learning experience, don’t ask more than 30 questions for a single assignment. If you have a lot to cover, consider creating multiple assignments.
– The WebAssign Content Team
Take into account the difficulty of Question Difficulty
When creating a test or practice test, don’t forget about question difficulty. This information can be viewed in the WebAssign question browser. Professor Bowman has a mix of challenging and easy questions. She says that while the easier questions can boost students’ confidence while they are taking tests, they still need to be challenged and pushed to understand the material.
Best Assignment Settings for Practice Exams
Once you have selected your questions, it’s time to optimize the delivery of the practice test to students to ensure the best learning experience. The WebAssign Content Team recommends that you modify an existing assignment template or create one using these best practices.
Limit your submissions to 100 so students have plenty of time for practice and the right answer.
Students should be able to submit answers for each question part. This will allow them to submit multiple submissions for multi-part questions.
Allow learners to learn tools after two submissions. Students get feedback and support right away.
If this is a practice assignment and not a grade assignment, change all question point values to 0.
Optional or required?
Although I make the practice test optional, I have offered a practice exam prior to final exams for credit or a grade. Sometimes, I ask them to complete the practice test in our lab time. Then we will review the questions together the next morning.
– Katie Bowman (Maths Instructor, Surry Community College in NC)
Stressful exams, such as finals or midterms, can make it difficult to get through the day. These tips will help you prepare your students to succeed in creating your own practice exam in WebAssign. The best part? The best part? You can reuse practice questions from your exam for the real thing.
Need additional exam support? Check out our webinar on preventing cheating and delivering tests.