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

The Stuff That Dreams Are Made Of

The best test preparation practice is to start early.

Any information acquired in class will inevitably be the subject of future examination. While short term memory is adequate for the occasional quiz, weeks or months will elapse between initial content exposure and a mid-term or final assessment. Rather than waiting until hours before an exam to rummage through past assignments and textbooks with the hope of recalling faded memories, the best strategy is to optimize from the very beginning of classroom education.

When the transient period of personal introduction ends and instructors segue into genuine curriculum, I allocate time at the end of every week to construct a concise study guide. During note-taking, I limit each chapter or section to a single page on which I write a title followed by a condensed version of the important concepts. I then generate and answer a series of related questions which will likely be the subject of assessments. In the case that a specific idea proves extraordinarily confusing, I append a more detailed explanation.

I repeat this procedure for every subject to ensure that when finals near, I possess an organized and comprehensive representation of essential subject matter—the ideal material for effective study. I browse through pages of notes, devoting greater time and attention to the material of greatest ambiguity, and complete more hypothetical exam questions. In circumstances that require rote memorization i.e. vocabulary terms, I review the content before sleep to strengthen the connection between my subconscious and short-term memory.

At times I lack the motivation to produce these hebdomadal study guides, but I never let myself fall behind. After I complete the additional pages each week, I can sleep soundly at night with the knowledge that as time goes by, test anxiety will not consume me, and when I finally write my exam, there will be so much to look forward to.

Angela from Washington
High School Senior
Interlake High School