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

I think it would be crazy to write about test preparation strategies without first acknowledging that everyone is different when it comes to test preparation. That being said, I have some strategies that have proven most helpful throughout my college experience. First, as a psychology major I always talk through my test reviews/notes with a roommate or friend. I'm aware that writing things down is the first strategey towards retention, and that speaking comes next. This allows my friend who is listening to ask me clarification questions that can sometimes put me on the spot and show what I do (and don't) know! Next, if my notes are on paper (which they usually are) I like to type them up into a GoogleDoc. However, with this step I don't inclue as much information in the bulletpoints/outline. This is another method of retention, and when I talk through this sheet I have to be able to understand what I am talking about without all the excess information and context that's included in my paper notes. This is also a way to wean me away from necessarily memorizing things word for word and creating more associations between concepts. Now another part of my test preparation is to do this typing in the same space. At my college, I have "my spot" in the basement which is the quiestest level of the library. This allows me to get into the right mindset because I've created the neurological associations that being in my spot means I'm going to focus and get work done. Finally, I'm a music person. I always have music playing and I think it's possible to still study while there is music in the background. However, I only listen to classical piano music when I'm studying. This works for me because I usually don't know the song very well and there are no words, meaning I'm not singing along in my head. It's very calming music which helps me breathe and focus even when I am stressed. Between these four strategies for test preparation, I have never been let down.

Sarah from Minnesota
College Junior
Saint Mary's University of Minnesota