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

My favorite test preparation method is discussing the material with a group of friends. This has proved to be valuable countless times while studying for all sorts of exams ranging from factual mathematics, skill based language learning, and critical cellular biology. Depending on how the material is presented, my studying methods vary. What stays constant is that I review periodically rather than waiting until the week of the exam. After every few lectures my friends and I get together for a couple hours and go over all of our class notes and homework problems. Working in this focused group setting is extremely valuable because we hold each other accountable to prevent from being distracted while studying. Beyond increased concentration as a group, there is also more comprehension. Whenever someone doesn’t understand a concept, more often than not, another friend is able to clarify and explain with a different perspective. Another great method for when the material is more factual is review games. One person might get the phrase “chemiosmotic coupling” and have to define it for a prize. If another person can take it further by explaining how it relates to cellular respiration, they would also receive a prize while everyone benefits from the resulting discussion about connecting multiple topics. Group discussion can be slightly more difficult for subjects like algebra and calculus, but what I always found helpful is listing all of the topics studied over that unit. Then I would identify all the different types of questions relating to the topics based off of the problems we went over in class and had on our homework. This helped me understand what kind of questions could be on the exam and prepare for them accordingly. Overall, I understand that everyone studies differently and we all process material at varied rates, but despite how one learns, discussing with others and planning ahead helps everyone to a great degree.

Shireen from Illinois
College Sophomore
Loyola University Chicago