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What Questions Should You Ask Before Implementing Practice Tests?

May 31, 2022

iStock-1278805923Practice makes perfect so they say. And while perfect may be a stretch, there is a reason why practice is the norm when it comes to preparation for a greater goal. Whether it be as a member of a sports team, a musician, a public speaker, or a surgeon, constant training and honing of skills is what separates the good from the great.

The same can be said academically as test takers prepare for an exam to secure a license or certification. In addition to the traditional learning and ongoing studying, practice tests are another option to reinforce important concepts and see a general test structure in advance of the actual test day. In 2021, many test takers who took high stakes exams also purchased practice tests, including 63% of health service test takers, 23% in real estate, and 15% in construction.

If you’re considering offering practice tests to your test taker population, which we highly recommend, here are some questions to ask your vendor in advance to ensure that the platform is beneficial to both you and your test takers every step of the way.

 1. Self-service capabilities/ease of administration


    • Can access to practice tests be limited or restricted if desired?
    • Can the platform automate with little-to-no hassle?
    • What is the plan for addressing questions and resolving technical issues?
    • Does the platform allow for both hands-on and hands-off administration from our team?
    • Can exam and practice test be purchased as a bundle or kept separate (can the platform handle both)?

Pro Tip: If you plan to take a hands-off approach, asking the important questions upfront becomes that much more important to ensure your test takers will have any concerns addressed promptly and accurately.

2. Scalability


  • Can it handle any volume of practice test takers, no matter how small or large?
  • Can login credentials for users be created on-demand?
  • Can those login credentials automatically turn off once the predetermined timeframe elapses?
  • Overall are these settings flexible and easy to change even after initial set-up?

Pro Tip: How you envision your interaction with this system at launch may change once you start to use it. Being able to change the functionality and how often or little your organization is in the platform is important to make the most out of this partnership.


3. Ease of reporting


  • What reporting is available from the platform?
  • Can the data be broken down to item-level data?
  • Can the individual questions be categorized by topic and subtopic?
  • Can specific references be included within the questions to books or online resources that can be linked directly to the topic?

Pro Tip: By being able to drill down into the data, you can see specific areas where test takers may be struggling, allowing for changes in provided teaching materials if necessary.

While there is much to consider prior to implementing practice tests into your offerings, this due diligence will ensure you’re maximizing the platform and in turn, the test taker experience. This is more than just a practice test – it’s a remedial solution for providers and invaluable preparation resource for a test taker about to take the next step in their professional journey.

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Maure Baker Maure Baker is the Vice President of Career Services at PSI. He leads the overall strategy and partnerships for PSI's growing suite of professional readiness tools, from soft skills development to test preparation. Over 15 years of Maure's career has focused on credentialing tests and talent management. Maure's team has a passion for systems and products that boost confidence while relieving stress, helping users prepare not only for test day but also for their continual career development.