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

The way I create study materials depends on the subject I’m studying for, but each way involves hand-writing, as that’s been proven to help students retain information. When it comes to math, I find that doing practice problems and reviewing old homework is most effective because with math, practice is essential to understanding the process and methods of solving problems. When it comes to subjects requiring rote memorization, I rely on creating flashcards and reviewing them frequently, shuffling them after each use. For a subject that requires a more complete, thorough understanding of multiple concepts and the connections between them, I like to make study guides that map out those connections a few days prior to the test. I find that it is helpful to group and review topics in the order they are taught and learned because the chronology aids in memory. Often on a test, if there is a concept I am unable to remember but I understand another directly related concept very well, I am able to use my knowledge of the related topic and its connections to the lesser known topic to answer the test question adequately.
Although the materials I use for studying vary depending upon subject, the method I employ does not. My key to retaining information is to review study materials immediately before bed. This is because during sleep short-term memory is translated into long-term memory, and studying before bed ensures that what was just reviewed is most recent and therefore the first memory to be reinforced in the brain. I find it works best to do this each night for a few nights before the test, so the information is reinforced over several nights. Since I started studying this way, I’ve noticed quicker and more effective recall.
Hand-writing materials and reviewing them before bed are the two test preparation practices I swear by. They’ve made me a more confident student and have proven their usefulness several times over.

Madeline from Michigan
College Junior
Oakland University