Why You Should Use Practice Tests For Your Permit Exam
The Fundamental Idea That is so Wrong
American teenagers using cheat sheets for their driver’s license or learner’s permit exam, often think that cramming and memorizing facts or fixed answers will help them pass the DMV knowledge exam. No surprise, perhaps, since learning by memorizing things have dominated education for many year. Remember, when you memorized poems in school? Yet, the fundamental idea behind this kind of memorizing is so wrong. Proven to be so already in the beginning of last century.
What Researchers Say
A more than two-year old study titled “Improving Students’ Learning with Effective Learning Techniques” took a closer look at 10 of most commonly used learning techniques. This research, published in “Psychological Science in the Public Interest”, found that some study techniques are more efficient than others. But efficient techniques were not the techniques that most students use for their studies or the ones they once learned in school.
This may the reason why at least one out of two first time applicants in United States fail their driver’s license or learner’s permit test. In some states, the rate is as high as 70%.
Ineffective Study Techniques
Researchers behind our study showed that two commonly used techniques, highlighting (or underlining) text and rereading text, were judged to be ineffective. Things we all learned at school. Teachers even told us this was the best way to study.
Summarization, imagery use for text-based learning, and keyword mnemonics were also found to be some of the least effective study techniques. In some cases, there were simply no evidence for effectiveness, in others, the technique worked in some learning situations but not in others.
Good Study Techniques
So, what is effective learning and what are good study techniques? And will they help when it comes to taking a driver’s license exam?
According to the study, two reasonably effective techniques are elaborative interrogation and self-explanation. Elaborative interrogation is where students ask themselves why the information they are reading is true. This is also known as critical reading, where the student recognize not only what a text says, but also how the text describes the subject. Self-explanation prompts students to provide their own explanations for statements or facts, which helps a deeper understanding. These methods are also encouraged by driving schools and websites discussing learning the rules of the road.
The Most Effective Techniques
The most effective study techniques, researchers found, are practice testing and distributed practice. Students are better off when they spread out their studies over time. They are also better off when they test themselves, like doing problem solving or taking practice tests at the end of a study session.
This is also what I suggest to be by far the best method to pass you DMV written knowledge test and also retain your knowledge to be a good driver.
Effective Practice Tests – Survey by Driver’s Prep
Driversprep.com is a website offering online practice tests for permits and driver’s licenses for all states in U.S.A. Their follow-up survey in this year showed that first time applicants using online practice tests to prepare for their written DMV test had an overall pass rate of more than 90% (less than one out 10 failed their first attempt at the written knowledge test).
A part of the applicants’ success was also contributed to the fact that they practiced with peers or parents. Almost half of all users studied together with someone else at some point. Six out of 10 also answered that parents or other adults supported them during the learning process.
Why Effective Techniques Are Important
Since teenage drivers from 16 to 19 years of age have the highest traffic violation and crash rates, it is important to encourage effective learning techniques and parents’ (or other adults) involvement. I believe it is of great help to have someone to discuss traffic rules and safe driving practices with. Teens must not only try to learn traffic laws and road signs, they must also understand things that can distract their driving and how to make good judgment calls.
This is not only important for the teenager, but for all of us on the road. Reducing the numbers of casualties and deaths on U.S. highways is a main concern for everyone.
1. Dunlosky, John; Rawson, Katherine A.; Marsh, Elizabeth J.; Nathan, Mitchell J.; Willingham, Daniel T. “Improving Students’ Learning With Effective Learning Techniques: Promising Directions from Cognitive and Educational Psychology.” Psychological Science in the Public Interest, January 2012, Vol. 14, No. 1, 4-58.