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Test-taking may improve learning in people of all ages
Date:3/7/2013

ege students still showed improved memory for previously tested material compared to restudied material, even after the two-day delay.

The sample consisted of 60 college students, age 18 to 25, 60 younger adults, age 18 to 25, and 60 older adults, age 55 to 65, either attending school or living in the Houston area. The students were recruited online from Rice University and received partial course credit while the other participants were recruited online and via community flyers and received a small payment. All participants took an intelligence test before starting the experiment.

Participants had 15 minutes to study and read materials on the following four topics: tsunamis, armadillos, the human heart and black holes. After completing some math problems, which served as a distraction from what they had read, the participants completed a multiple-choice test on two of the topics. They received feedback on their performance from researchers (e.g., "You got 14 out of 20 questions correct."). In addition to taking the multiple-choice test, the participants restudied the other two topics that had not been included in the test. After completing another set of math problems, some participants took the final test right away while others took it two days later. This final test covered all four topics and was more difficult since it required participants to write answers rather than select from multiple choices.

Since all participants had some college education, the authors suggest that future research should look at adults with less formal education to see if this testing benefit is seen across educational backgrounds and age groups.

"Working adults often need to gain new skills or knowledge as they advance through their careers," said Meyer. "Our research suggests that testing may be one way to help them improve and move up."


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Contact: Audrey Hamilton
ahamilton@apa.org
202-336-5706
American Psychological Association
Source:Eurekalert

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