BBC HomeExplore the BBC
This page has been archived and is no longer updated. Find out more about page archiving.

Accessibility help
Text only
BBC Homepage
BBC Radio

Contact Us

Like this page?
Send it to a friend!


Test it!

Put yourself to the test to learn better

It is often better to test yourself on something you've learned than to keep re-learning it. This is because in testing yourself, you can reflect on your progress, check how well you have learnt things, and fill in the gaps rather than re-learn everything again.

After learning something, come back to it after a few minutes and test yourself on it. Try learning capital cities or lines from a play.


Try the self-testing method and let us know how useful it is for you

Submit a comment


How useful is this tip?

  1. Useful
  2. Not very useful

Total votes: 63

This is not a representative poll and the figures do not purport to represent public opinion as a whole on this issue


this is the best way of learning to remember things!

This is a very useful way of remembering things.

I learned my driving theory like this. I had some software that allowed you to take a practice test over and over. It had the additional advantage that you knew which answers were wrong. Then I got my boyfriend to test me on the ones I kept getting wrong. I only lost one mark overall in the real theory test. However, I found this useless for most of my A-Levels (it was quite good for French) and my degree in Theology. So you have to use a range of methods!

Lynn Henry
It works best

Surely it depends how often you use the information? Capital cities are fine if you hear them on a regular basis, but what is the capital of Outer Mongolia again?!

I was the worst in the class but I am the best

Very useful as i always try to reread during revsion time, however testing myself on pass exam papers improve my subject weaknesses.

Useful.I call this instant recall , as in answering a quiz.

Great technique. Sometimes when you think you have learned something, you can see just how much of that information has/hasn't sunk in by testing yourself.

This is the best way to learn anything! I even told my mates to try it out!

Interesting tips. Quite useful

A good method and can help buiild up selfesteem ready for the real test.

greg wallis
Maureen makes a good point about self-testing being moor about self reflection and analysis, it is an honest way to assess and re-view yourself offering a chance for greater depth of self awareness and reflexivity.

Testing is good as you learn 3 times: learning, writing it downor testing yourself verbally and checking it....isn't this another form of rehearsing it really!!

it is a good way but one part isnt so good

I'm going through the menopause and apart from the hot flushes the only thing that really bothers me is the short term memory loss

This does rely on getting it right first time... otherwise you will keep making that same mistake and remember the wrong answer instead

Kathryn Lacey
I find the best way to remember is to write the word down three times, also I found that before exams if you read a paragrah three times over you find that by remembering the first sentence the paragraph will come back almost word for word.

twiggy robinson
i am really forgetfull ,i will walk into townm and forget why im even there in the first place and then after having a quick shop and i get home i suddenly remember what i wanted and realize that i didnt pick it up on the way ... it is really annoying. i find it usefull to go over things for the next day in your head or to make a list before you go to bed and read it till you can say whats on it and what they mean without looking it really helps me . i also find taking lists usefull but i will have to learn not to use one as it gets worrying if you think you have lost it !!

Is there such a thing as a photographic memory? Needs be tried again could be useful.

tis a kind of good way of keeping it in your memory

Testing your self helps you with a number of things example revising. if you test your self you know what you have to revise harder on so test yourself it will help!!!!

This proves whether you are actually learning something as well/badly as yo umay think. It shows that actively learning and remembering things works much better than the passive form of re-learning, as very little is absorbed, and progress cannot be tracked

I think testing is a good way of remembering what you have learnt and every day has things that test your knowledge of something you have learnt, so there is no excuse!!

Mandy Winter
Can remember for a while but if it's something I don't use on a regular basis, I forget again and its the same for most things.

I have done this for various things and agree that it works if you don't make mistakes

The only problem with testing yourself - you tend to ask the questions you know the answers to, or only know you are correct if you have te answer. You really need someone/something external to test you. I find work kis a good examiner - I'm constantly asked questions about my job that I have to recall answers for very quickly. My wife tried this technique for her revision - and I eventually became tired of asking the questions! I think I knew the answers by the end using repetition

i was told that if i wanted to remember something i should read it, have break and then review it after a minute, an hour, a day and then a week later. It really helps me to remember. Also being in a strange place when you learn something makes it stick! (like the garage or the loft!)

Hello louise marie allen, i am 41 and i've suffered the same for 17 years, always remember this, you are more than your physical self, believe in the person you know you are within, everytime you have a good experience queeze your left thumb and left index finger together do this often, then when times are low, close your eyes take a deep breath, say in your mind "I believe in the person i know i am." Then queeze the same and think of that happy moment that made you queeze your finger and thumb together, try to hold that moment.... It helps me to remember happy times i hope it does for you.

I do a lot of self testing with music scales. Practice 2 or 3 a few times then test myself with papers mixed up in a pot. One piece for each scale. That way I test myself in a random way. Amazing how it stays in my mind even when I'm not feeling confident about it.

louise marie allen
I am 28, unemployed and suffering from depression, i live on my own, and am forever forgetting things, what is wrong with me?

Testing can usually also boost morale ( if looked at positively, of course) and that makes the next bit of learning easier.

The best way to learn is cheat and learn to cheat well. write anything you can't remember either on your arm or like some true pro's wright it as small as you can on a piece of paper and hide it somewhere inconspicuous.

Definitely agree with this one.

farhan katpar
it is a best way to learn new things every day. sometimes people just reapting to learn same things again and again and thay never try to test theirself.

THe main reason self-testing is useful is that forced recall actually reinforces a memory. Teachers and trainers use this in the so-called 'Pose, Pause, Pounce' exercise. After teaching something, pose a question about the material, pause whilst the entire audience recalls the answer, then pounce on one student to supply the answer.

Laurie Turner
Checking oneself, means peace of mind- knowing that, it's one thing that is correct, allowing you to move on, confident it's one thing out of the way.

Very true. I try to imagine that I am teaching others this information. That way I have to dig deep to recall the details and also explain it clearly and thoroughly.

I remember I remember

shanaz ahmed
this is a useful technique that I often use to learn facts before i present cases in court

This is by far the best way to learn any subject. It gives you an idea where your weaknesses are, therefore, you can then concentrate on these areas.

all my teachers tell me to test myself but i always some how end up cheating it only realy works if your realy focused and care about what your learning otherwise its usless

this is useful. i like making cards with questions on one side and the answer on the other and using them and then i can cut the pile down to just what i get wrong until i can do them all. or also trying to write down everything i know about something and then finding hte gaps

I have not done this properly before but I will give it a try

I agree with Maureen, I find that if I can find another use for something I remember it better. making connections between facts or pieces of information works.

Lists of words, languages translate both ways, Yes.

I agree that testing is one of the best ways of checking the progress we've done.I think also it helps to learn more.A very few people are prepaired to exams for 100%, there is often something behind us which we can make up for while testing.

At last and intelligent and world proved tip for learning and create a memory!!!!!!! Why is this not used everyday, everywhere by everybody, specially teachers at schools is a mistery to me. I do believe strongly that this is the only serious tip, and that it should have had been placed at the top of the list, the other eleven are no more than games.

absolutely! Used to do it during school exams, followed by testing with school mates!

Testing works well and is useful when establishing new routines.

Deanna Pini Waldenberg
Self testing is good as it makes one slow down in order to test oneself. Aren't we all in too much of a rush for everything single thing with info thrown at us from all directions?

It's a good way, but you have to learn the thing thourghly before testing yourself, otherwise you learning the wrong thing, which contradicts another point: Make no mistakes!

This is a good way of learning !

This one conflicts with 'no mistakes'. At what point is it OK to start making mistakes?

I always test myself when I am learning something. It helps to show weaknesses but encourages you when you do well. To learning vocabulary for language exams I would record myself reading out words then re-listen to the tape, while writing down the words to test myself on the spelling. It really worked.

Self-testing sounds slighty dodgy, but it's the first step to self-honesty as well as a memory trick!

yeah, good way to work the ole noolde thx's

it isnt so much testing as reflection and analysis - how did you do that? where can you use the process again? Learning how to think is the one skill we are never taught, but the one that would assist us all to achieve more!

This is the BEST way to learn anything!! After every little bit you learn, test yourself. I guarantee you will find revising a whole lot easier!!



The BBC may edit your comments before publishing. Comments will usually appear within one working day.

About the BBC | Help | Terms of Use | Privacy & Cookies Policy