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

My test prep strategies begin while I’m still in the classroom. I take all my lecture notes by hand, color-coding important terms and concepts. Professors will often remind us that physical notetaking is better for our memories than typing our notes, and for me at least that is true. Writing my notes helps me focus more on the material being discussed in class, whereas when I type, I can often do it without paying attention to the keyboard or the screen, so I’m not actually absorbing the material so much as just recreating it in a Word doc. I repeat the same process for any assigned readings or videos, keeping my notes for each class in the same notebook.
Once I have all the notes for a unit in my notebook, I type them all up into a comprehensive document with headings and subheadings that allow me to easily skip around to topics I might need additional help on. The purpose of typing my notes after writing them is twofold. For the first, it creates repetition, and the more you do something, the more it sticks in your memory. For the second, it’s much easier to ctrl+F in a Word document than it is in a notebook to find what I’m looking for, so for studying purposes, having all my notes in a typed document is just easier.
For other classes, the third step of my test prep is creating flashcards. Using my notes and, if provided, a study guide, I’ll create flashcards on the topics the test will be on, adding diagrams or printing out images to glue onto the cards as needed. When the flashcards are done, I do a study run-through to see where my baseline knowledge is. Cards/topics that I ‘know well’ go into one pile to be studied every three days, cards I ‘sort of know’ go into another pile to be studied every other day, and cards I ‘don’t know’ go into a third and get studied everyday. The cards are shifted between piles as I improve or forget things, ensuring my study time is spent efficiently.

Ellie from North Carolina
College Sophomore
University of North Carolina at Wilmington