If you have made the decision to prepare for your high-stakes exam by taking relevant test questions, you are already ahead of the game. According to Science Magazine, the “testing effect” is a well-documented phenomenon that occurs during the course of testing, which has shown to produce greater gains in meaningful learning than other study methods such as re-reading notes or listening to lectures.
However, what is all of your hard work and practice worth without strong data to evaluate and improve your performance?
At TrueLearn, we provide you with insightful analytics to complement our SmartBanks, or question banks, so you have the knowledge you need to pinpoint where your performance is now, where you need to get to and how to get there before exam day.
Simply put, TrueLearn platform’s analytic tools will make your exam prep more efficient than ever.
DISCOVER WHAT SUBJECTS ARE YOUR WEAKEST
One of the best ways to improve your performance before exam day is to determine which categories on your exam’s blueprint are your weakest. Why spend additional time on categories you are performing well in when you could hone in on your weak points?
Our Category Performance Chart allows you to quickly identify which of your exam blueprint categories are your weakest. The chart displays your exam’s blueprint categories from your weakest to strongest, defined by your performance in each specific category relative to your peers. This is a quick and easy way to discover which categories you should practice more in before sitting for your exam.
Tip #1: For exam blueprints containing multiple categorization axes (for instance, a “Physician Tasks” axis of categories and a “Patient Presentations” axis of categories), you can change category axis by using the dropdown. If your exam only has one categorization axis, the dropdown will not be displayed.
Next, the chart shows you how many questions of the total available, you have completed. If you have a lot of unused questions in one of your weaker categories, you now know to practice more questions specific to that category to improve.
Tip #2: You can quick create a test using our “Study Weak Categories” button to get questions in your weakest categories, questions you have answered incorrectly in the past and questions you have marked.
On the other hand, if you have completed the majority of or all of the questions available in one of your weaker categories, you may need to read through the detailed answer choice explanations and cited references more carefully.
Tip #3: You can accomplish that by custom creating a test with questions from that category and take it in Tutor Mode.
Another great piece of data you can get from the Category Performance Chart is the importance of each category on the exam you are preparing for.
The “importance” is the weight of each category as it is described in the blueprint for the exam. The larger the importance bar is for a given category, the more questions from that category you should expect to see on your exam (and in your SmartBank!). This information is great to use when deciphering which of your weaker categories you should focus on improving first.
The chart also shows you your “Q/C/I” for each category; this is the number of questions taken, the number of correct responses you gave and the number of incorrect responses you gave. This information further helps you understand how much you’ve practiced on a specific category and how well you have performed with that practice.
The last key feature of this powerful chart tells you your overall percentage, the national average and the difference between the two for each category. Your overall percentage is the number of correct answers given out of the total number of questions taken. The national average is the overall percentage your peers have earned on that same category. And the difference is how far above or below the National Average you are for each category.
If you are performing below the National Average, your bar will be red and if you are performing above, your bar will be green.
Check the Category Performance Chart throughout your activity within TrueLearn as the data is updated each time you test. Use the data as a means to create a logical study plan and track your improvement in each category over time.
THE ACHILLES HEEL OF TIME MANAGEMENT
One important yet often overlooked part of preparing for an exam is the ability to manage your time. You may feel confident with the material, but if you are unprepared for how quickly you need to move through each item in order to complete it all, you may leave questions unanswered and points rendered useless.
To better prepare yourself for timed exams, TrueLearn allows you to take timed tests. Then upon review of your test, you can view the time it took you to complete the whole exam.
Next, look at the breakdown of the time you took to complete each item. Use this information to determine which categories take you the longest to answer versus those you are able to move through quicker. More practice with your “slower” categories could help you move through them faster.
In addition, take a look at the time you spent on questions you get incorrect. You could be getting questions incorrect if you are not spending enough time on them or you could be taking too much time, overanalyzing them and getting them incorrect. Or, maybe you are spending too much time on questions you just don’t know, when you could benefit from moving on more quickly and investing your time on other questions.
TIP #4: With TrueLearn, you don’t have to worry about determining how much time you should give yourself. Our system automatically gives you the proper allotted time based on the time you would get if you were actually taking the exam. For example, if you are preparing to take an exam that has 400 questions in eight hours and you create a test with 50 practice questions, you would be given one hour.
This data helps you to see your personal behavioral trends throughout your exam preparation. The more knowledge you have about how you spend your time during practice exams, the better you can adjust your behavior appropriately when you sit for the exam.
CHANGING YOUR ANSWERS FOR THE BETTER OR WORSE
Have you ever reviewed a test and dealt with the regret and frustration of finding out you changed an answer from correct to incorrect? This unfortunate behavior happens all the time and may feel like it is unpreventable. However, TrueLearn’s powerful data can help you avoid making these mistakes in the future with our Decision Analysis.
Our Decision Analysis gives you a glimpse into your decision making to learn how often you change your answer, as well as whether or not changing your answer from your first instinct to another answer choice is beneficial to you or not.
For each test you take within TrueLearn, you see the breakdown of how many items you got correct and how many you got incorrect.
Then, you find out how many items you changed from correct to incorrect, incorrect to correct, or incorrect to incorrect.
You can dive deeper and view a question breakdown to see which questions you changed your answer on, including what your initial answer was and what your final answer was. Then, you can determine whether changing your answer was beneficial or not.
Tip #5: Try to determine why you made the decision to change your answer. Did you ignore a vital piece of information? Did you get thrown off by a distractor? Use our Notes function when reviewing tests to jot this information down. As time goes on, come back to these notes to find trends and remind yourself of your good and bad habits to keep yourself in check.
Similar to the time management data, this data helps you identify trends in your exam-taking behavior and learn how to adjust it to perform well on exam day.
Tip #6: Are you consistently finishing your timed tests with lots of time to spare? Try reviewing a block of questions and make sure you are satisfied with your answers before submitting them. Then, track to see if your changed answer choices from your 2nd pass review helped improve your performance or not.
SIMULATE THE EXAM BEFORE YOU TAKE IT
After you put in your time practicing for your exam within TrueLearn’s platform, gauge your readiness by taking advantage of our exam simulation and assessment exam features.
You can use TrueLearn to simulate your test based on the actual exam’s blueprint. Our team of question writers knows your exam’s blueprint inside and out and write the SmartBank questions based off of it.
Tip #7: To help you prepare for your upcoming exam, take this test just as you would the actual exam- without distractions or interruptions.
In some TrueLearn subscriptions, you have the option to add an Assessment Exam. This exam features test items specifically crafted to mirror those tested by the board who prepares your exam. The Assessment Exam is hosted in a simulated environment to promote optimal preparation including the same number of test items in the same allotted time you would get on exam day.
See how you do and use all of the categorical, time management and decision-making data to make informed decisions about how you can improve.
Taking practice questions is undoubtedly one of the most effective ways to prepare for your exam. Unlike other study methods like reading notes or books, TrueLearn has the added benefit of providing you with analytics and feedback every step of the way. This allows you to track your performance as you improve and make adjustments to your preparation to help you perform at your best on exam day.