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

Studying and test preparation are integral components of formal education today. I just finished my freshman year as a Medical Biology major, and my classes tend to be on the more difficult side. To stay at the top of my game academically, I have to ensure my study habits and test preparation practices are top-notch.

First, I always prioritize my health and mental clarity in the week leading up to an exam. I ensure I get at least eight hours of sleep in the week before a test, which gives me a rested brain. Nutrition is also a vital component of maintaining a sharp intellect, so I try to eat balanced meals with plenty of vegetables and fruits during that prior week.

One can be as healthy and mentally prepared for an exam all he or she wants, but chances are vegetables and sleep alone will not ace a test. My study method depends on the subject, but for biology as an example, I utilize a range of resources. I look through my notes and the professor’s presentation and focus on areas I struggled to understand or that have advanced/new material. I limit my study sessions to an hour at the most, as that is about as long as I am able to effectively concentrate.

I am also very picky about my study environment. I have found a quiet environment with as few distractions as possible works best. Some light classical music may supplement my study atmosphere. I seem to get distracted easily, so this focused environment helps me maintain my concentration and study more efficiently.

My study habits have worked very well for me so far, but everyone is different and study habits that work for me may not work for others. Also, I believe study habits need to be tailored to the subject and class – an organic chemistry test should not be studied in the same manner as an English literature class. One last tip I have found in studying and test preparation is to make studying fun. Personally, it is much easier to focus when I enjoy what I am doing, and test preparation is no different.

Michael from South Dakota
College Freshman
University of South Dakota