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

Although there are many ways of preparing for a school assessment, one fact transcends all subjective ways of learning: "Know thyself." Different strategies will work for different people. With this in mind, a person should "study their studying" to make sure it works for them.

Personally, I have used Bloom's taxonomy pyramid to prioritize my learning strategies. If I am creating information with what I am supposed to study (the highest level of the taxonomic structure), then remembering, understanding, applying, analyzing and evaluating the information (in that order of ascendancy) will have already occurred. Therefore, my goal is to reach the creation stage as quickly as possible.

However, often I don't have time to go through the process of full internalization. Perhaps there is a test I forgot about that I must take in one hour. In that case, cramming information is completely necessary. How one studies for short-term information varies widely from person to person. However, I find that alliterative strategies work best for me. It is extremely easy for me to remember long lists of information with a simple all-encompassing made-up "word," such as KPCOFGS for "Kingdom, Phylum, Class, Order, Family, Genus, Species." Oddly, the stranger this "word" sounds, the easier it is to remember. I have even alliterated alliterations; for example, to remember a certain band score instrument order, I simplified "PFOECC ABSAT BBCHT TETGX CVVCD" to "PABTC" based on the first letters of each section of letters.

I also have used spatial association, by which Roman orators would memorize their speeches. For this, I would take certain information and imagine it as being in a room in my house. All I must do is "walk through my house" imagining the information placed in each room. Other strategies that have been helpful to me include making songs from the information, association of things to everyday objects or processes, and treating definitions as if they were "equal signs."

Aaron from Illinois
College Junior
Bob Jones University