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

I was always that kid that jumped through the hoops when it came to my academics. And I was good at it. That is, until I reached my second semester of college. Don't get me wrong, I love school and learning new things, but suddenly my excellent memory and simple "just listen and take notes" wasn't enough anymore. I actually needed to teach myself how to really study because just skimming over my class notes I'd taken weeks before exam day wasn't cutting it. So I learned how to study. My test preparation practices can vary depending on the class and the nature of the test, but there are general principles that I follow every time.
One that begins the first day I sit in class is active listening. I don't just simply hear the lecture, I listen. For patterns, repeated phrases, connections. It's kind of like weaving a tapestry in my mind with all I'm taught until it all connects and creates something beautiful and unique to me. And part of that active listening is participating, asking questions, and sharing my own thoughts every so often. The consistency of engaging with the topics and class material allows it to move into my long-term memory.
Another practice I use for transferring the material into my long-term memory is the use of stories and short phrases. When it comes to vocabulary using no more than 5 of my own words for the definition is really helpful. It's short and it's personal. Adding a story to the test topic or vocabulary word also helps it to stick for me, and those can be noted in my class notes by using 1 to 3 words. This practice makes for easy, clear studying and brings the concepts back out of long-term memory to the forefront of my mind.
Both of these principles are key as I take advantage of study guides when test day comes close. Study guides are my way of organizing and simplifying the material even more and refreshing my mind on the semester. By following these practices I not only do well on tests, but more importantly, I really learn.

Elizabeth from Utah
College Junior
Brigham Young University