Write an essay where you tell us what test preparation practices work best for you and why.

Growing up, my idea of studying was simply re-reading the textbook or notes over and over until I became exhausted. Only to realize the next day, that I had retained a very small percentage of the information I had just spent 3 hours "studying". I was very hard on myself as a kid. I felt as if I lacked the ability to recall the information as easily as the other children. I grew older, I learned that intelligence had nothing to do with it, but rather the specific approach that I was using. Studying takes patience, practice, trial and error. So I began to do some research and I discovered some of the best studying methods that worked for me in order to be successful.

1. The right environment away from distractions is a key component. That also means making sure that certain electronic devices are put away in order to resist the urge to get on social media or respond to messages. I recognized that although multitasking is a necessary skill to obtain, the brain is constantly having to restart and refocus, ultimately wasting valuable study time.

2. Active recall is known to be one of the most useful study strategies discovered. It is simply just the practice of remembering information. Some of my favorites are the classic flashcard tool. As much as I enjoy the pre-made decks, I have found that I have a better chance of remembering the information when I create the flashcards myself and present the information in my own words. Another active recall strategy I like to use is the teaching method. It forces me to explore the subject from multiple perspectives as I try to explain the information to someone else.

3. Unlike the 15 year old kid who spent 3 hours mindlessly reading the textbook expecting to get results. I found that spacing out material over short periods of time allowed me to retain the information for the long term. It's about how you study, not how long you study.

Valeria from Texas
College Junior
San Antonio Collee