Examining the testing effect with open- and closed-book tests



Two experiments examined the testing effect with open-book tests, in which students view notes and textbooks while taking the test, and closed-book tests, in which students take the test without viewing notes or textbooks. Subjects studied prose passages and then restudied or took an open- or closed-book test. Taking either kind of test, with feedback, enhanced long-term retention relative to conditions in which subjects restudied material or took a test without feedback. Open-book testing led to better initial performance than closed-book testing, but this benefit did not persist and both types of testing produced equivalent retention on a delayed test. Subjects predicted they would recall more after repeated studying, even though testing enhanced long-term retention more than restudying. These experiments demonstrate that the testing effect occurs with both open- and closed-book tests, and that subjects fail to predict the effectiveness of testing relative to studying in enhancing later recall. Copyright © 2007 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.