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

I am a strong believer that students need to have a clear and focused mind to actually have an effective study session. Otherwise, the time spent studying when their mind is elsewhere or not completely focused is ineffective, and it is unlikely that any information was truly retained. Something that has always been useful for me has been what I call "incentive studying". I always use some sort of incentive to help me persist and have the motivation to keep studying. For example, I need to review chapter 1-4, then I can take a break and watch an episode of my favorite show, or I can take a break to workout to regenerate and energize myself for the rest of my studying. Once I get into my test preparation, I commonly make a color coding mechanism with the material so that I can organize information into something that appeals to me as a visual learner. I also tend to make some odd analogies or comparisons when I am learning some material. For example, in my physiology class, we were learning about cilia and microvilli in the human body, and it reminded me of the anemone you see in Finding Nemo. Whenever I can link important details to things that I commonly think about (I think about Finding Nemo more often than I would like to admit) or of things that are amusing to me, it is much easier for me to actively recall that information. Lastly, something that is really important to me is to pay attention to my mental health. I have definitely had my fair share of all-nighters to study for an exam, but sometimes I can physically feel myself giving up. This is the point where I know to respect myself enough and give myself a mental break. During times like this, I like to just sit back and close my eyes and breathe for about ten minutes, and reassess how I am feeling then. Something I have come to learn is the importance of paying attention to mental health, because otherwise learning is ineffective and you will resent yourself for pushing yourself too far, too often.

Dhanielle from Arizona
College Sophomore
University of Arizona