LEARNING HACK #16: Don’t cheat yourself

This post is part of a series challenging our assumptions about learning techniques. We’re giving you up to date information from current research into learning to help you learn more effectively. This is the final post in the series, so make sure to check out the previous 15 learning hacks too.

It is better to look at the correct answer straight after answering a question, rather than after completing the entire paper.


We all feel the pull to the biscuit tin as it approaches tea-time, just as we all have an itch to check the mark scheme immediately after answering a question. There is no point being tested if the correct answers are never provided, but it is even more effective to provide these answers slightly delayed as opposed to right away.

By preventing ourselves from looking at the answers until the end of the paper we not only simulate a more realistic exam environment, we also force ourselves to answer questions independently without the need for reinforcement from correct answers.

Want to read more on this topic? Check out these links:

  1. Test format and corrective feedback modify the effect of testing on long-term retention
  2. Feedback enhances the positive effects and reduces the negative effects of multiple-choice testing

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