Student preparing for exams

Student preparing for exams (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s the second week of June  and that means it’s time for students to start to prepare for final exams.  A recent study found 84 percent  of students prepare for tests and exams by rereading  the material.  Fifty-five percent of students in the study believe rereading material was the best way to prepare for tests and exams. But,rereading material  proved not to be the best way to prepare for exams. The most successful way to prepare for exams is quizzing.   Yet, only 11 percent of  students reported they quizzed themselves to prepare for tests and exams. Students who used quizzing  as a study strategy  correctly answered 65 percent of questions taken directly from text and 70 percent of questions that required inference and making connections across concepts. That is an increase of 10 percent for direct questions and a 10 percent increase for inference questions.

A 10 percent increase is significant.  I would be absolutely delighted if my students could demonstrate a 10 percent increase in their learning. In the past, I have encouraged students to create quizzes about the material as part of their study plan. But, some students were not convinced it was worth the effort.  Now, I have data to share with students  to  support the contention that creating quizzes is a successful study practice.

I encourage my students to create a learning or study plan because  it makes them responsible for preparing for exams and gives them a sense of being in control of the process. They can differentiate their study strategy to suit their individual learning preferences and strengths.


The plan includes the following headings

  1. What I need to know;
  2.  When am I going to study;
  3. How am I going to organize what I need to know;
  4. How am I going to remember what I need to know;
  5. How will I know I have learned the material I need to know.


If you like, I can email you a copy of the handout. Just leave a request in the comment box below.  I’d be delighted to share my learning plan with you.  students have told me it is helpful and have gone on to use it at college.



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51 Responses to “Research finds the best study strategy for students is quizzes”

  1. Pam Darden on June 9th, 2012 7:33 pm

    Please send me a copy!
    So glad to be coming up to the final week of the toughest teaching year of my life! Best wishes, Pam

  2. Georgia on June 10th, 2012 5:11 am

    I’ve always used quizzes during revision classes but your structured plan sounds like it would be even more beneficial for the students. Well done. Yes, please send me a copy. Thanks!
    Georgia´s last blog post ..Sunday Post: Water

  3. Belynda on June 10th, 2012 8:34 am

    Please send me a copy!

  4. Jude on June 10th, 2012 8:38 am

    The best teacher I had (for both 7th and 8th grade history) gave us lots of quizzes in the classroom. “Okay,” he’d say. “Here’s today’s pop quiz.” He also gave us lots of essay tests. He told us that he didn’t encounter an essay test until college (this was the 1960s), so he wanted us to be prepared. Because of his class, I’ve always excelled at essay tests.

  5. Rebecca on June 10th, 2012 12:04 pm

    Thanks much for the tip. Please send me a copy of your handout. I’d love to share it with my students in the fall. Thanks for all your columns. It seems with each one I learn something.

  6. Tammy Aiello on June 11th, 2012 9:14 pm

    Thanks, Elona… I just shared your great article on my facebook page (

    Mme Aiello

  7. Rie Carter on June 11th, 2012 11:22 pm

    I’d love a copy!

  8. Chelley on June 12th, 2012 4:21 am

    I would like a copy!!!

  9. Melody on June 12th, 2012 11:04 am

    I’ve been looking for something to help my students prepare for tests! Please send me a copy! thank you!

  10. Anne-Marie Starkey on June 12th, 2012 6:24 pm

    Would love a copy too. Thanks!

  11. Mary Buzzard on June 13th, 2012 12:42 pm

    What an interesting concept. So encouraging to realize that all the quizzes I have given to my students will really help them. I do believe that frequent formative assessments are not only good assessments, but excellent study devices for students when it comes time for novel tests or unit tests. And if they are kept in a notebook, the material is always there at their fingertips.

  12. Mary Stevens on June 13th, 2012 12:47 pm

    Thanks for the gereat information. Who knew that all those quizzes I gave my AP students was beneficial? Quizzes are great formative assessments as well as study guides. And when they are kept in a notebook, they are as close as the fingertips of our students.

  13. Elona Hartjes on June 13th, 2012 9:59 pm

    Mary, yes their quizzes are excellent study guides, especially when kids create their own quizzes. I sometimes have my students help create the quizzes for the class. I include questions they have created on the quizzes and the kids just love it.

  14. Michael Livingston on June 17th, 2012 8:20 pm

    I would like a copy, please.

  15. Michael Livingston on June 17th, 2012 8:22 pm

    Hi, I have taught methods of teaching the last seven years and the idea of quizzes is one that I have always used and stressed. Also, it is very important that the students keep a running tally of those quiz grades. Saves time and problems later.

  16. Michael Livingston on June 17th, 2012 8:24 pm

    Also, I used the X system. In my gradebook I give an X value to each assignment. A quiz may be 1X or 2X, a composition the same. A Unit test may be 3 or 4X. This tells my students the value of the assessment as well as how many times it counts when I tally their raw scores.

  17. Susan on June 18th, 2012 8:50 pm

    I would love a copy!!

  18. Fanny Freeman on June 22nd, 2012 12:12 pm

    If I may ask, can I also have a copy? I meet several students during my work at and most of them have issues with preparing for their exams. I am sure if I shared with them your plan, they would be much more successful and less frustrated. Thanks in advance!

  19. pam on June 24th, 2012 6:39 pm

    Could I have a copy of the study plan worksheet as well? Thank you so much for sharing this!

  20. Dan on June 26th, 2012 8:56 pm

    Please email it to me. Although I am teaching Thai students English, this is helpful.

  21. Vivian Covone on July 1st, 2012 7:33 pm

    Please send me a copy. Sounds great!

  22. Anneke on July 2nd, 2012 3:34 am

    Can I please have a copy of the handout?


  23. Cassandra on July 3rd, 2012 8:43 am

    Please send me a copy of the handout. Thanks!

  24. Cassandra on July 3rd, 2012 8:58 am

    Could you send me copies of the following handouts: Learning Plans, Reflection Handout, and the Sentence Stems and Reading Logs? Thank you so much!

  25. K.Dixson on July 3rd, 2012 10:39 am

    Thank you for sharing all this great information! May I please have a copy of this learning plan?
    Thank You
    K Dixson
    K.Dixson´s last blog post ..Helping students reflect on their test taking preparation strategies

  26. Alice Velthuizen on July 3rd, 2012 11:11 am

    I’d love a copy of the handouts for my middle schoolers. Thanks. Enjoy your blog!

  27. Mark on July 3rd, 2012 2:09 pm

    Thanks for the helpful information, I am very excited to give my students tools they can use to succeed. I’d love a copy of your handout, thank you for being someone who shares!

  28. Lil on July 9th, 2012 10:33 pm

    Would love a copy!

  29. Nancy on July 10th, 2012 11:54 am

    I think I can use this strategy for my son who has Asperger. Send copy please.
    Nancy´s last blog post ..Learning styles explained simply to assist students in completing their learning plans

  30. Tracy on July 11th, 2012 7:36 am

    I would love a copy as well! Thanks!

  31. Elizabeth Pickard on July 12th, 2012 9:25 pm

    I would love a copy!!

  32. Susan on July 13th, 2012 6:27 am

    I would love a copy – thank you!

  33. Debi on July 19th, 2012 8:20 pm

    Please send me a copy – mucho thanks!

  34. Kelly Fulton on August 12th, 2012 4:38 pm

    Please send me a copy of the quiz information.



  35. Erin on August 16th, 2012 4:07 pm

    Could you please Email me a copy? You are a great “Educational Yoda”! You definitely are a master of the forces involved in successful teaching!

  36. Elona Hartjes on August 16th, 2012 6:56 pm

    “Educational Yoda”, why thank you. Yoda is one of my heroes. I have shown the Yoda clip from Star Wars about “not trying but doing to my students to help motivate them. I felt sometimes with some students that when they told me they tried it do something it was an excuse for not doing something because after all you cannot blame someone if they are trying.

  37. Melissa Kirkland on August 22nd, 2012 12:45 pm

    I would like a copy of your study plan. Thank you!

  38. Victoria Wolfe on August 26th, 2012 11:10 pm

    I would l!ike a copy of your study plan. Thank you

  39. Debra on August 27th, 2012 7:26 am

    I would like a copy of your learning plan. Thanks for sharing!

  40. Renee Neligh on October 1st, 2012 7:03 pm

    Could you email me a copy of the hand out please

  41. emily on October 6th, 2012 10:40 am

    sounds interesting

  42. Elizabeth C on December 3rd, 2012 4:47 am

    Thank you for this post–I’m eager to share the resesarch data with my students. The more ways we can help students become aware of the learning process, the better. I would be very interested in seeing a copy of your handout. Thanks.

  43. Jessica on December 28th, 2012 5:11 pm

    Hi! Second year high school SLD teacher here! Would love a copy of the learning/study plan. Much appreciated. Thank you!

  44. Amber on January 5th, 2013 2:19 pm

    I would like a copy of your learning plan for students as well.

    Thank you!

  45. David Adams on April 12th, 2013 9:38 pm

    Hi, please send me your handout for students to create a learning plan. I am a student teacher looking for all of the useful tools I can find.

  46. Meoshee on April 16th, 2013 6:49 pm

    I would love a copy. Just got news of my first teaching assignment. Looking for all good a techniques to utilize to have an effective classroom. Thanks a bunch!

  47. Kristine on April 18th, 2013 9:08 pm

    I would love a copy. Thanks for sharing great and proven strategies.

  48. Matt on May 28th, 2013 10:09 pm

    This might be too late but could you send me one? Thanks!

  49. Shatawn on May 30th, 2013 9:00 pm

    Hopefully it’s not too late. But can I please have a copy of the handout too? Thanks!

  50. Sarah McMillan on November 15th, 2013 12:44 pm

    I would love if I could receive a copy. We are currently reading your article, and doing an assessment on students with problems. This would be helpful now and in my future teaching. Thank you 🙂 and God Bless You!
    Sarah 🙂

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