Write an essay where you tell us what test preparation practices work best for you and why.
There is a Jamaican proverb that states “one one cocoa full basket” which means, take things one step at a time (gathering cocoas one at a time) and eventually you will achieve your goal (a full basket). It serves as a reminder to me that everything counts, no matter how small and how insignificant you think it is. How does this relate to test preparation? Well, a little goes a long way, and that is one of my favourite concepts to remember in school. It’s how you review, when you review, what you practice and your mental state that will help you to “fill your basket.”
Over the years I’ve adapted a mantra, that is “you don't have to get ready if you stay ready”. In essence, it means “always be prepared”, because you never know what can happen, when. I’ve found it helpful to apply this mindset in every aspect of my life, especially in school. As we all know, it isn’t easy trying, not only to understand course material from five different classes, but also committing it to memory. For me, school isn't just about “passing”, it is important to me that I study well enough to remember the material and I do this by constantly reviewing. After every class I review the material that was taught and throughout the day, I think about it in different ways - trying to see how it can be used differently by applying concepts in the real world. I find that understanding how something works also helps me to better understand why.
Another important step to preparing for a test is knowing what you understand and what you don’t, and focus on what you don’t. Being able to identify your weak areas and focusing on those, is key. I know that I tend to have problems with nomenclature and sometimes my usual techniques don’t work, so i try to make up a song and that usually helps. It was always so easy for me to remember song lyrics and I can almost hear my mom telling me that I should know my school work like I know the lyrics to my favourite songs. So I use this in a way that benefits me, and recite it just as I would my favourite song. Not only does it help me to memorize nomenclature, but I've got this sweet little tune in my head all day. In the end, it always comes back to constant reviewing.
Lastly, don’t stress. That’s easy to say but at the end of the day, when the weight is on your shoulders and it feels like your world is falling apart it can very well take a toll on your mental health and this affects how well you perform. It helps to perform breathing exercises throughout the day and whisper affirmations to yourself, or if you don't mind being a little weird, shout them. I try to never tell myself that I’m going to fail because whenever I do that, I almost always fail. Sometimes we know more that we think we do and a positive mindset goes a long way.
In conclusion, test preparation is easier when you’re always prepared to take a test, when you understand the material and when you are minimally stressed (or not stressed at all). Practice a little everyday and try to see how you can use the material outside of school, how it might relate to you and the things you do. Omit self-doubt and be positive in all your endeavors and when all else fails, sing a song.
Shenae from Georgia
Kennesaw State University