• gross anatomy education;
  • medical education;
  • practice tests;
  • formative assessment;
  • examinations;
  • summative assessment;
  • study tools;
  • online examination

Formative practice quizzes have become common resources for self-evaluation and focused reviews of course content in the medical curriculum. We conducted two separate studies to (1) compare the effects of a single or multiple voluntary practice quizzes on subsequent summative examinations and (2) examine when students are most likely to use practice quizzes relative to the summative examinations. In the first study, providing a single on-line practice quiz followed by instructor feedback had no effect on examination average grades compared to the previous year or student performances on similar questions. However, there were significant correlations between student performance on each practice quiz and each summative examination (r = 0.42 and r = 0.24). When students were provided multiple practice quizzes with feedback (second study), there were weak correlations between the frequency of use and performance on each summative examination (r = 0.17 and r = 0.07). The frequency with which students accessed the practice quizzes was greatest the day before each examination. In both studies, there was a decline in the level of student utilization of practice quizzes over time. We conclude that practice quizzes provide some predictive value for performances on summative examinations. Second, making practice quizzes available for longer periods prior to summative examinations does not promote the use of the quizzes as a study strategy because students appear to use them mostly to assess knowledge one to two days prior to examinations. Anat Sci Educ 8: 37–44. © 2014 American Association of Anatomists.