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

As a biochemistry major, a large proportion of my coursework involves rote memorization of complicated terminology. To help myself conceptualize all of this information, I begin studying for tests by copying all of my professor's lecture slides into an online study card platform. Listing the information from one slide per card, I will remove key words and enter blanks in their place to help begin the memorization process. Rather than simply memorizing definitions, the additional information my professor's often provide in their slides helps me to conceptualize the information and retain it better than by learning the words alone. Once I have the basic framework surrounding the concepts down, I'll move to physical white-boarding. In this case, the physical action of writing the information provides another stimulus to retain the information, while the less structured format of the open white board encourages me to recall more information beyond the basic words to fill in the study card blanks. During this preparation method, I often find that I recall more from the study cards than just the words I was attempting to learn due to the fact that I ended up reading the slides multiple times as I filled out blanks the study cards. I really enjoy this test preparation practice because I feel as though it breaks the process of learning down into two steps that are easier to manage than the large task at hand. Through the online study cards, I learn the basic set of information I am going to be tested over and how the key concepts and terms I need to know are applied in practice. Continuing on, the use of the physical white board acts as a tactical learning strategy that expands on my current knowledge and refines it with additional details I obtain and incorporate alone the way. This strategy likely won't work for all majors, but for those encountering a substantial amount of memorization, I would highly recommend trying this technique.

Ashley from California
College Freshman
University of Southern California