What is a Test Bank?

A test bank is a specific data base that holds tests from a gambit of teachers, educators and students who upload tests from their classes for others to download and use as a study guide. The test bank can have tests from universities, charter schools and k-12 public and private schools.

Test banks offer:
Test banks can make testing much easier.

  • Full length or practice length tests
  • Answer keys for those tests
  • Adobe test taking software for those to take the tests online
  • Tests in PDF or Word formats for downloading

Test questions can be in any of the following formats:
  • Multiple Choice
  • Fill in the Blank
  • True/False
  • Matching
  • Essay/Short Answer

How are Test Banks useful for Teachers?

  • They are provided via the schools preferred software system and students do not have to leave the school's network to take the test.
  • Saves the teacher a significant amount of time since they do not have to utilize their time constructing test questions.
  • They can be customized by teachers so that questions can be added or omitted.
  • Teachers can save time from correcting tests.
  • Tests can be set up so as to give the student immediate feedback and provide reference information for them to find the correct answer.
  • Teachers can also see how students are fairing as they take their uploaded tests online. Teachers can use this as a guide to re-teach parts of the test that are overall confusing the students. The teacher can also see what questions are too easy and change them on the new test to challenge the students a bit more.

Below, is a short video explaing how to import tests into the Examview Test Bank software program.

How are Test Banks useful for Students?

Test banks are useful for students because they allow students to take practice tests to see how well they might do on the actual exam in class. Students can study parts that they were weaker on or did not understand. Immediate feedback can be given, and the teacher can be there to provide information and to help the student with understanding the question.

  • Here is a good example of a simple (University of Maryland) online test bank.

What makes for a good Test Bank?

  • Good test banks have multiple tests per class per school. They have ranges of questions that student all over the country could register for and take online to see what they need work on and what they excel at.
  • A quality test bank does require updates and constant work and user feedback. Schools should run their own test banks or buy into a preexisting test banks and make it free for the students to use.
  • Test banks should have no limits on the amount of tests they can store and they are copyright protected.
  • A great test bank may go back for years and provide students with helpful resources such as old test, test reviews, or handouts provided by the teacher to past students.

What are some of the positives of Test Banks?

  • j0422593.jpg
    Test banks can provide students with immediate feedback!
    Test banks offer students and teachers a helpful guide to gaging how well they are learning or teaching a subject.
  • Students can study parts of the tests they do poorer on and teachers can see what their students are not understanding.
  • Test banks can show students possible questions on an examine to help them prep for their exam.
  • Students are better able to understand a teacher or professors exam technique or way of wrting exams.
  • Test banks "increases students' study time productivity by providing access to past examinations" (Dahlgran, 2004).
  • Test banks provide topical organization of past examination items (Dahlgran, 2004).

What are some of the drawbacks of Test Banks?

Some of the drawbacks of testbanks are the following:
  • Test banks can be costly if school do not pay for their students to use them.
  • Test banks can infringe on some copyright protected tests so they would not be able to carry certain tests because of this reason.
  • Standardized tests companies have their own datebse for their questions. When accessed by others in order to prep for such tests the potentional examinee are constantly being charged in order to access the test bank database.
  • Test banks can also promote cheating. Please see the article titled, "Test Banks, Professor Evaluations, and Tag Team Attendance: How College Students Have Learned to Not Learn."
  • Students may memorize the answers to an exam instead of learning or being able to conceptualize the material that was taught in class.

What are some of guidelines for using Test Banks?

Teachers should follow the online signup and register for the test bank's website. Each site has their own way of uploading tests and the formats those test should be in to load them. The key is for teachers to read trhe specific instructions for each software program and test bank file.

Students should also take note as to specific instructions for the test they are taking, since they are often unique to the company that has provided the software.

Where do Test Banks stand on Teacher recommendations towards using them? What is the current research tell us about the success or failure of Test Banks?

Even though test banks can be useful because it allows students to know what may be possible questions on an exam or the teacher's test style as stated above, test banks can have its drawbacks. Because test banks may be filled with old tests, study guides, and teacher notes that they once passed out to students it may be recommended that teachers add new questions to an exam even if they plan on recycling some of the old material found on the older exams.

Dahlgran (2004) article concludes that the teachers that tend to use test banks are the ones who lack proper test construction or measurement. He believes that when using multiple choice tests there can be errors of multiple choice disrimnation, therefore, it is recommended that teachers correct or reconstruct new test in order to prevent this. In order to learn more about Dahlgran's article please click on this link.

In Kitao and Kitao's (1996) article it is advised that teachers should use old tests in order to improve instruction and the test itself. In order to promote student learning, they believe that the teacher should not only grade tests but provide students with answers or comments in regards to the questions they got wrong after a test in administered. When test banks are used, teachers are able to view test they administered to previous students and it allows them to provide better feedback to current students, understand common questions or answers students often gotten wrong on previous tests, and help the teacher to be able to write better tests in the future. Please click on this link in order to read more about their research.

Current research indicates that even though there are advantages to test banks, when used inappropiately it causes the student to memorize questions and answers and does not promote problem solving, critical thinking skills or conceptual learning. Please view Krentler, Hampton and Martin's (1994) article for an example of how tests banks were not as useful overall.


-Dahlgran, R. (2004). A multifaceted online futures markets test bank: Content and code. Journal of Economic Education, 35(4), 415. Retrieved from Education Research Complete database.
-Richichi, R. (1996). An Analysis of Test Bank Multiple-Choice Items Using Item Response Theory. Retrieved from ERIC database.
-Kitao, K., & Kitao, S. (1996). Evaluating the test results. Retrieved from ERIC database.
-Kretler, K., Hampton, D., & Martin, A. (1994). Building critical thinking skills: Can standardized testing accomplish it?. Marketing Education Review, 4(1), 16-21. Retrieved from Education Research Complete database.
-Oxford University Press, http://www.oup.com/uk/orc/learntestbanks/#top