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

Have you ever watched a “What English Sounds Like to Non-English Speakers” video? This is exactly what happens when you try to read your notes from the day before. All of the words that made perfect sense coming out of your professor’s mouth suddenly seem like gibberish on paper. Or perhaps you didn’t understand your professor for the first time anyways, in which case, your notes might as well be written in another language. So how should you, as a college student, get around this problem?
Step one: Record your professor’s lectures. I take notes on my tablet while the recording feature is running on OneNote. This is immensely helpful as the recording corresponds to whatever you were writing at the time, so you don’t have to hunt for the specific minute and second.
Step two: On the same day of a lecture, make sure to go over key parts of the recording while checking with your notes and clarify what you might have missed during the lecture. Jot down notes in the margins and fix some sloppy areas so that when it comes to the test, you’re not trying to decode an alien language.
Step three: Go to office hours. This is one of the most intimidating steps. Some professors aren’t the greatest about keeping office hours posted. But if you demonstrate interest and email them your questions, chances are, your efforts will pay off. Whatever you don’t understand from the lecture, notes, or recording, ASK! If you clarify concepts before the exam, you will save yourself a lot of pain come test time.
Step four: In the days leading up to the exam, review notes (that now make perfect sense-- give yourself a pat on the back!), recordings, worksheets, previous exams, etc. The day before the exam, briefly run over notes and ask any last minute questions. The night before, go out for a run, make a nice meal, but whatever you do, don’t open those books! Otherwise, you may start doubting yourself when you’ve spent all that time preparing.
Step five: Ace the exam! You got this!

Jin from Texas
College Freshman
Texas Tech University