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

Whenever I am preparing for a test, I pick a day to plan out how I will execute studying for the test. That is my first step. On the first day, I make an outline of all I believe I will need to know, the different resources and material I have to study, and the amount of hour I have in a daily and weekly basis of completing my studies. This first step ensures that I do not forget to cover an area of the subject, no matter how small the topic is. After first mapping it out, I plan out on a week-by-week basis how I will study and what topic I am studying on a given day. By giving my study hours a sense of 'direction', I ensure that I remain on task. I normally make sure to study in hour and a half increments as these are the times periods in which I have a spark of motivation. After the time of studying is up, I make sure to stretch, grab food, and then decompress. It is also equally important to give the mind rest. Along the same lines, I make sure I am fully rested each day I am studying so I can properly absorb the material. I tend to use diagrams and charts while I am studying as I am a visual learner. Another testing method I utilize is past exams. Past exams reveals the thought process of professors, the depth of the subject material, and the type of problems the professor will ask, and the ability they are trying to develop. I also try to do various practice problems on the subject that I find online to mentally work out different problems, make sure I can apply theory to practice, and find solutions to different problems. After that I go over all the answers to the problems, even the question I got correct to see how I could have gotten my answer in an alternative way or quicker. The areas where I got questions wrong I will highlight and review those areas in my books.

Ashley from New York
College Junior
Columbia University