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Soak testing involves testing a system with a significant load extended over a significant period of time, to discover how the system behaves under sustained use.
For example, in software testing, a system may behave exactly as expected when tested for one hour. However, when it is tested for three hours, problems such as memory leaks cause the system to fail or behave unexpectedly.
Soak tests are used primarily to check the reaction of a subject under test under a possible simulated environment for a given duration and for a given threshold. Observations made during the soak test are used to improve the characteristics of the subject under test further.
In electronics, soak testing may involve testing a system up to or above its maximum ratings for a long period of time. Some companies may soak test a product for a period of many months, while also applying external stresses such as elevated temperatures.
This falls under load testing.
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