Testing makes our brains work better

Exams and quizzes aren't bad and shouldn't be feared! Expert Annie Murphy Paul explains how testing helps people learn.
YouTube video

Author Annie Murphy Paul is an expert on the science of learning.

Video transcript

“One thing that parents might be surprised to learn about testing, is that it’s actually one of the best ways to support students’ memory — and even their deeper learning. I think there’s the perception that testing is all about ‘drill and kill’, and it’s just about rote-ly memorizing a list of facts… but it’s actually a way to make deeper learning, more creative learning possible by taking those facts and moving them into our long-term memory — so that we have more room in our short-term working memory to take those facts, combine them in new ways, think of new ideas that are sort of jumping off from what we know… That’s one reason that testing, by consolidating memories, moving them to our long-term memory, is really a great way to promote deeper learning.”

Paul also offers some simple but effective tips for dealing with test anxiety and how to help your child study to get better results.

About the author

GreatSchools.org is a national nonprofit with a mission to help every child obtain a high-quality education that values their unique abilities, identities, and aspirations. We believe in the power of research-backed, actionable information to empower parents, family members, and educators to help make this happen. For 25 years, the GreatSchools Editorial Team has been working to make the latest, most important, and most actionable research in education, learning, and child development accessible and actionable for parents through articles, videos, podcasts, hands-on learning resources, email and text messaging programs, and more. Our team consists of journalists, researchers, academics, former teachers and education leaders — most of whom are also dedicated parents and family members — who not only research, fact check, and write or produce this information, but who use it in our daily lives as well. We welcome your feedback at editorial@greatschools.org.