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

Focus is my best friend. I never look at my phone in class and always take notes, on paper. This helps me grasp the essential concepts immediately so I only have to review my notes to nail down specific facts. In addition, when I am 100% focused, I can learn exponentially faster. I also make sure to focus on the 1-2 classes in which I am struggling the most. I check my grades every time they are updated to see where I should focus my time.

Before reading assignments, I search online for summaries and commentary of the passage. This only takes a few minutes, but it drastically helps me understand the material the first time I read it. This practice saves a lot of time because I do not have to re-read piece several times.

To remember large amounts of data, I first group information into small “chunks” and then organize those chunks spatially using the loci method. In this method, I take the data chunks and assign them to familiar objects in a logical sequence. Stories, visuals, and familiar concepts are already easy to remember, and the loci method powerfully combines all three tools and applies them to other types of content. For example, I learned over 50 digits of pi (i.e. random numbers) in under ten minutes by assigning groups of numbers to the cabinet doors in my kitchen. Now I can just walk through my kitchen and simply recall the digits for each door.

Finally, I fight to prevent stress. I try to express gratitude and remove biological causes of stress by exercising and eating healthfully. I monitor my thoughts and feelings continually to prevent my thoughts from drifting into panic territory. For example, I keep each test in perspective, knowing that one flopped test is not going to cause a nuclear armageddon, consign me to eternal poverty, or even destroy all hope of personal happiness. In five years (or months) no single grade will even matter. This fact calms my mind and lets me focus on doing my best on the test.

Nathaniel from Tennessee
College Sophomore
Bob Jones University