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

The internet is full of different study tools. My favorites are the ones that help me quiz myself. From digital flashcards to practice quizzes to just writing on your own blank document, methods of retrieval practice have always been my favorite test preparation practices. By constantly asking myself about the test material, I can better cement the answers in my memory. To do this, I create my own questions from memory, without the help of notes and textbooks. Writing questions myself forces me to think about which topics will be the most significant and what I should know, as well as pointing out which areas I don't understand well enough to write questions on. Then, I combine these questions with questions I find online on topics I had trouble with. This creates a large comprehensive test of what I'll need to know. To make sure I cover everything properly, I check the practice test against class materials. Taking this test helps me retrieve answers and information more readily and highlights gaps in my knowledge. Unlike reading reviews and textbooks, it keeps me engaged and requires active participation. These methods also simulate the experience of real test taking. By getting used to answering questions on certain topics, I can become more comfortable with similar questions and lower test anxiety. When preparing for a test, I try to create a practice test as similar to the expected test as possible, and create a fake test-taking environment in which to take it (down to uncomfortable temperatures and annoying noises). As someone who gets very nervous during tests, purposely exposing myself to similar environments and experiences helps me become accustomed to them and learn to think under pressure and discomfort. Retrieval practice and practice test-taking help me with both retaining information and test anxiety.

Naomi from Arizona
College Sophomore
University of Arizona