Author's School

Graduate School of Arts & Sciences

Author's Department/Program



English (en)

Date of Award

January 2009

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Chair and Committee

Henry Roediger


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. In the first experiment, subjects studied GRE passages and then took an open- or closed-book test. 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 GRE comprehension questions and transfer questions after a two-day delay. In the second experiment, subjects were informed in advance of the type of immediate or delayed test to expect, in order to mimic educational settings in which students typically know the type of quiz or exam to expect with regards to open-book vs. closed-book format. Initial retrieval practice during these two types of tests did not yield differences in long-term retention: consistent with Experiment 1), but final test expectancy significantly influenced delayed retention. Closed-book test expectancy produced greater final test performance on comprehension, transfer, and factual questions in comparison to open-book test expectancy, demonstrating that test expectancy can influence long-term learning.


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