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Benefits of simulating exams

Are you familiar with the benefits of an exam simulation and how much it can help you prepare for that exam?

Beneficiile simulării examenelorSimulations help students develop practical learning abilities for studying. Adults are more used to testing situations, so their chances of success are higher, but our children are new to these situations and they may affect them in ways we don`t even imagine, because of their lack of experience or maturity.

The simulation technique is an often used tool in army, aviation and medicine; it prepares the individual for the most various situations using colorful realistically built scenarios in order to “embody” as well as possible the testing situation itself. This technique replaces and amplifies the real experience.

Through repeated exposure to an as much as possible real situation, the individual has the opportunity to improve not only his abilities to face tasks, but also his self confidence in his own capacity to solve those tasks (self-efficacy). This stimulates the individual to, firstly, engage the task (for example: to study for an exam, to show up at the exam), and second, to engage those tasks with courage.

4 benefits of simulating exams:

  1. Knowledges
    Simulation tests help you identify lacking knowledge, what you don`t know and what you didn`t know you don`t know, what you need to learn in order to successfully solve a task and what you don`t know the way you should. Simulations offer you testing tasks examples; through them you are able to identify that information you were not sure of, that information you thought you knew or understood, but in an stressful situation you were not able to remember it good enough; the traps that questions may fold; the difficulty level of the items; which is the information that you need to insist on and where you can find it.

  2. Learning abilities
    There are tests that are solved elaborating the answer in writing and there are tests that are solved only by choosing the right answer or answers. What is less known is that our brain processes differently the solving of these two types of tasks.
    The first type of processing (elaboration) is based on identifying the needed information from the long-term memory, updating and reproducing it in the working memory in a logical and meaningful way, in the absence of the object; in the second processing type (choosing the right answer), updating becomes recognition of the right answer, in the presence of the object.
    Depending on the type of cognitive processing that the test involves, through its simulation, you become able to identify the best learning method in order to achieve the best possible performance and your brain has the chance to get used to this kind of cognitive processing, in the given situation.

  3. Attitudes
    Very many students or pupils fail exams or get bad grades at scholar tests, not because they don`t study for them, but because of some past failures or bad grades that they had had, they have been developing testing anxiety.
    This anxiety manifests like a fear of testing situations, however it should be. This fear compromises the concentrating and attention capacity. The student simply tells himself or herself that he or she won`t be able to successfully solve the test and they set a barrier and stop thinking clearly, because of the lack of self-confidence in his or her own capacity.
    By repeating the testing situation, the student not only improves performance, but he also becomes used to the evaluation situation, and that is what reduces fear. Simulation changes the attitude towards the exam, helping the individual to leverage and channel his or her attention towards learning the information that has been identified as lacking and not towards worrying or creating negative scenarios that reduce the chances to succeed.

  4. Don't involve any risk
    Simulations don`t involve any risks. Repeating the testing situation indicates you the level of your knowledge and orientates you towards precise actions, purpose directed actions. A poor result at the exam may have the consequence of not being accepted at the desired school or faculty, emotional frustration and school abandonment.
    A test or an exam simulation doesn`t have any risks, but simulation increases the chances of success, through concentrating the attention on what needs to be done or improved.

It is important to keep in mind that when your child gets one ore many bad grades, there is a danger that he develops a low self-esteem regarding his person and not only regarding that domain or test performance; there is a chance he starts ruminating thoughts as “I am not good at anything”, “I am stupid”. In these situation, the parent needs to help his child to channel his attention to the right thing; to appreciate the child and help him see all the past positive educational experiences and all his successes, valuing him as a person; it is important to set a clear distinction between the performance in a specific domain and the person`s value.

Simulations are very useful in preparing for Bacalaureat and National Evaluation Tests for 7th and 8th graders and 11th and 12th graders.

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Anca Apolzan, psychologist


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