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

When studying for tests, I prefer to look back through my notes and reorganize them in the manner of a mind map. This is the connecting of different concepts and their constituents in a visual way that shows the relationships between the aforementioned concepts. Say I were studying the organization of bones, I would have the word ulna circled connecting to the word forearm which would then be connected to the word radius which would also be circled. Alternatively, if I were studying the immune system, I would connect things like the skin and mucous as well as differentiated cell receptors to innate immune system, of which the aforementioned bits are constituents. This method lends itself to understanding patterns and hierarchies and aids in learning the material because it activates the parts of the brain skilled in spatial awareness. If there were a three-dimensional program in which to map concepts in this manner, that would be even better as adding a third dimension would help our brains to lean onto spatial awareness to better learn material. The downside of this is that it does not help much for memorizing new terms. So when I have to learn a new, difficult term, I whip out the flashcards. Once I have my flashcards prepared, I read through them over and over until I remember the terms. I like this method because repetition is an extremely effective way to get information drilled into your mind. Anyone might be able to recall how easily commercials stick in your head and one of the tools they use to do this is repeating key information they need over and over so that you are significantly more likely to remember. Finally, I make sure to take notes by hand because the process of seeing information, then processing it, then finally writing it down initiates the connections in your brain, making it easier to reinforce them and thereby easier to recall after studying further.

Isaac from Arizona
College Junior
University of Arizona