Testing is often criticized in education, but there is evidence that it actually improves learning. Cognitive scientists call this “practice retrieval” or “test-enhanced learning,” where recalling information helps the brain form long-term memories. Several studies have shown that taking practice tests improves academic achievement. In addition, these tests can also reduce test anxiety. The reason why test anxiety diminishes is still unclear, but it could be due to repeated exposure to testing conditions or improved performance on the final exam. To minimize test anxiety, practice tests should be low stakes and enjoyable, such as gamified quizzes. However, more research is needed in this area, as the existing studies were small and of varying quality. It is important to find the right balance between boosting achievement and reducing anxiety. The ultimate goal is to create an optimal testing environment where students can benefit from the testing effect without experiencing excessive anxiety.
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