Whether it’s multiple choice question sets, writing out mock essays, or just issue spotting some old exams, practice is key to improving your performance. Think about the skills that you will use on final exams and make time in your schedule to practice all of them.
Of course, as you complete practice questions, you’re likely to find that you’re getting some (or most) of the answers wrong. Don’t let incorrect multiple choice responses or incomplete analysis on an essay discourage you! Sometimes getting the wrong answer can actually be a good thing!
Wrong answers are an important part of the learning process because they give you an opportunity to identify concepts or skills that you have mastered and make improvements. The key is that you have to take the time to review your answers, determine why you got the answer incorrect or why you failed to spot an issue, and relearn that concept so that you can get it right the next time. So be sure to devote time to reading answer explanations and model answers as you practice – not only will they help you figure out what you got wrong, but they are also a great way to review concepts, see how issues are commonly tested, and improve retention of the material. If you can’t figure out why you’re getting it wrong, don’t give up! Seek out some assistance by discussing the problem with a study group, visiting your professor’s office hours, or setting up an appointment with the Academic Achievement Department.
If you start to feel frustrated by wrong answers on practice questions, try to remind yourself that this is exactly why you are practicing! Getting it wrong in practice will help you avoid getting it wrong on the final exam – if you’ve already made the mistake on a practice question and corrected it, you’re less likely to make the same mistake when it actually counts.
So change your perspective on those wrong answers! When it comes to practice questions, don’t be afraid to fail. Turn mistakes and incorrect responses into learning opportunities and continue to learn, practice, and refine your knowledge.