Students regularly ask, “How can I do well in your course?” They are surprised when I provide a simple answer: Take advantage of the quizzes. Quizzes are not a silver bullet, but they improve students’ recollection of course information and, importantly to students, increase performance on exams. Pre-lecture reading quizzes encourage students to arrive prepared (pre-training), ongoing quizzes promote
regular studying (spacing), and review quizzes help students revisit material from previous topics (interleaving). Central to the present discussion, all of these types of quizzes require students to retrieve information to answer items, which improves performance on later exams (testing effect, retrieval practice). Still, questions remain about how to use quizzes most effectively. In particular, should we use
harder application quizzes or easier factual quizzes to help students do well in the course? That is to say, should we throw students in the deep end early in the learning process or not?