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

The methods that I use to prepare for a test are the key reasons for my success. About two weeks before a big exam is when I begin prepping my study materials. For me, I know that I learn more effectively by handwriting, rather than just rereading. I start by writing out and creating my own study guide on white paper with colored pens, and make it coded and color-coordinated for easy reading. For about an hour a day, I work on making my study guide. While looking over all the notes I took during lecture (very important) and reading over the material in my textbook to refresh my memory, I pick out the most important terms and include them in my guide. When studying for biology or chemistry, I have found that it is also very helpful to draw pictures or diagrams that correspond to the definitions. I then take this information and rewrite it all again on some flashcards. Repetitive writing of the materials helps me remember the content better. I spend the first week making my study guide and flashcards and making sure I cover all the topics. Week two (a week before the exam) is when I get to work. I read my colored guide repeatedly, sometimes covering the words and looking away so I can practice retrieving the information from my brain. I hand the packet over to my roommate so she can quiz me. I practice my flashcards until I am sure the content has stuck. Something I learned recently in my Psychology 101 class is a very effective study habit called the Pomodoro technique, which has definitely made a huge impact on the way I study. This method encourages you to study in 25-minute intervals, then take a short break. So, I put my phone on “do not disturb," set a timer, and leave it on the other side of the room while I sit and study for a good 25 minutes. After the time is up, I step away and do something refreshing, like listen to music. Not only have my grades been improving, but I find myself understanding the material better, simply just by changing the way I study.

Jillian from North Carolina
College Sophomore
Lander University