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

Upon entering college my test preparation was little to none! Throughout high school I had been able to excel just going to class and taking notes. My first semester in college was a different story and one I learned the hard way! My first test experience in college was in Biology. I felt prepared going in, I had been to every class, taken notes, and even looked over them the night before the test. That test was hard and leaving class that day, I knew I had not done well. When the grades came back, my suspicions were confirmed, I had failed my first test in college. Needless to say, I was upset and didn’t want to tell anyone (especially my mom, who knew I had taken a test and would definitely be asking). I set my mind to do better. I would study harder. Next test came, I studied more the night before, and felt more prepared. I passed, but not with the grade I wanted. Time to regroup and figure something else out. I began to take advantage of ECU’s academic success center. Here I learned some valuable study habits and found several helpful tutorial classes that I joined. They offered free tutoring, study groups, academic skills coaching and learning communities for all ECU enrolled students. I have to say, the tutoring, study groups, and making my own notecards have been such a great help to my study habits. Tutoring has helped tremendously in my Physics and Chemistry classes. I took AP Chemistry in high school, but the college Chemistry was much harder. Having a personal tutor along the way really helped, especially when I didn’t quite understand something in class. I could go, ask my questions and the tutor would take their time until I had a good grasp on the information I was learning. The study groups were really great right before tests. Specific classes had assigned study groups and a couple days before tests they would meet and go over each person’s questions, possible test question, and maybe even mock tests. These study groups really helped me not only answer some last minute questions, but opened my eyes to other people’s questions, that I might not have thought to ask. I still needed something to help when I was on my own. The tutors and study groups were great, but I needed a way of studying that I would remember the information I had studied. Doing my own note cards is my way of studying outside of class. I put my notes on note cards / flash cards and I am able to pull these out in between classes or whenever I have free time. Reading over notes, I found I did not retain the information I read, but quizzing myself on the notes, I remembered it all. All of these study habits combined have been my recipe for success throughout my freshman year of college.

Nathan from North Carolina
College Freshman
East Carolina University