Teacher Instruction: Online Practice Exams


Practice exams (or quizzes) serve to prepare participants for the formal exam. Depending on goal(s), practice exams can support participants’ studying, use of technology, and/or awareness of preparation tips and available resources. 


Brightspace quizzes



Example of Online practice exam questions

Email steinhardt.technology@nyu.edu to request practice exam assistance.


  • Goal:
    • Practice exams can serve different or multiple goals. 
      • Questions can be similar to the formal exam. Serving as a pre-test/alternative version asking questions to expose knowledge gaps or confirmation. 
        • Prediction questions can support studying and increase scores up to 10% (Lang, 2021). Prediction questions draw on previous content and asks participants to pause, think deeper, and connect information. For example, asking to hypothesize on what will happen next in a scenario based on past observations or what will happen next if a (specific content item) is missing or included? 
      • Questions can mention preparation tips and available resources. For example, encourage participants to find a quiet environment, know who to contact for technology issues, use Chrome browser, etc.
  • Environment:
    • Use the same technology for the practice and formal exams.
      • Using the same technology may support participants’ attention on the content, rather than how the technology functions (e.g. where is the submit button, where is the timer, why is my browser blocking the exam, does it autosave, etc.).
  • Timing:
    • Introduce the practice exam at least a few days before the formal exam.
    • Depending on your goal(s), providing adequate time supports studying and/or addressing technology issues or questions.
    • An alternative use for practice exams: Multiple low-stakes practice quizzes throughout the semester. Have each quiz focus on specific content (e.g. that week’s unit) and aim to scaffold toward the formal exam.
  • Feedback:
  • Practice exam feedback/results will be in the same location as the formal exam.
  • It’s your choice to grade or not. 
    • We recommend creating a low-stress experience promoting participants’ focus solely on practice. 
    • If you’re choosing to grade, we recommend a small pass/fail grade that encourages completion rather than quality of performance. 
      • To save time on grading:
        • Consider auto-graded multiple choice questions. 
          • Enable the “Auto-publish attempt results immediately upon completion” option in a Brightspace quizzes “Assessment” option.
        • Consider a couple short answer questions if a different level of thinking is an objective. We recommend timely feedback to reduce misconceptions.




Lang, J. (2021). Small teaching: Everyday lessons from the science of learning. John Wiley & Sons.

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