Practice Exam

The online practice exam is designed to provide more information than simply “how am I doing on this material?” After each chemistry item, you are asked to rate how much mental effort it took you to accomplish that last question. You rate this on a 5-point scale from not much at all to a large amount of effort.

The extra information then is summarized when the practice exam is complete. You learn not only what fraction of the items in each topic you get correct, but also a rating of how you rank the effort you needed to answer questions in that topic. With a final exam looming, many students find this extra information helps them organize where to invest their study time.

The Examinations Institute developed this method using paper-and-pencil first and then moved it to an on-line environment. It is designed to compliment the use of the study guide which can be used in a more tutorial mode. The practice exam does not tell you right and wrong answers, but rather tells you how many questions you get correct in each category. In addition, and very importantly, so long as you try to judge how hard you find each question as you take it, it can help you make decisions on how to move forward with your studying. The practice exam asks you for that information seemlessly on each question and then when you finish the whole exam it tells you which areas you rated as hard and which you rated as easier. When you combine your performance (how many you get correct in each section) with this information about how easy or hard you find the material, it can provide you insight into where you stand in your preparation for the exam.

The key is that you need to approach the exam like a practice – not trying to look up answers you don’t know right away, but rather practice taking the questions just like you would be during the test itself. And you need to try to make your best judgement on how hard you think each item is. Students who use the practice exam in this way reported it as quite helpful during our development of this new tool.