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The stop sign problem

If your primary method of studying is using practise exams or past papers, you face a sneaky little pitfall that I like to call ‘the stop sign problem’.

There are more than fifty different road signs in the UK and you might be asked to identify one or two on the theory part of a driving test. A full practise theory exam takes about an hour to complete and review. This means that after ten hours of study, you still probably haven’t seen a single stop sign. In fact, you can study indefinitely and never be completely sure of seeing one. The real kick in the pants is that, if the test were updated annually like many exams, seeing a specific road sign on last year’s paper would make it less likely to appear on yours.

Taking mock exams is time consuming and provides limited exposure to the syllabus. They are an invaluable part of studying, but not the whole answer, especially when it comes to memorisation. In this example, flashcards would be a better tool for gaining a basic knowledge of the road signs.

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