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

I have a ten step process for preparing for a test. The first step is to form a study group and exchange information, typically on the first day of class. This creates a great resource of knowledge outside of the teacher.
Second, the night before class, I read through the textbook to become familiar with the material and flag concepts I may have trouble with.
Third, I attend and record lecture and take notes on the left side of my notebook- these will be messy and unorganized. Since I already am familiar with the information, I focus on what the teacher is emphasizing and make sure I am understanding the concepts.
Fourth, directly after class, I listen to the class recording and re-write my notes neatly and color-coded. This ensures the notes are easy to follow and understand.
Fifth, with both my professor and my study group, I clarify concepts I don't understand with teacher and study group. I also complete any homework or projects due.
Sixth, I make my own study guide: a 1-2 page paper summarizing key information and emphasizing possible test questions. I make sure to read over this daily until the test date to memorize.
Seventh, for the week leading up to the test, I alternate being quizzed and quizzing my study group members. This helps with identifying important info and also answering questions on the spot.
Eighth, on the morning of the test I eat a light but healthy breakfast, drink some caffeine, and drink plenty of water. No one tests well hungry!
Ninth, during the test, I read through entire test once, then go through and answer ONLY the questions I know with absolute certainty; I don't spend more than 15 seconds on a question. Then I go through and answer questions that require deeper thinking; I don't spend more than 45 seconds to 2 minutes on a question. Lastly, I go through a last time to ensure all questions are answered, and make an educated guess on any that are not (unless there's a penalty for guessing!)
Tenth, I turn it in and relax.

Arianna from California
College Junior
Oregon State University