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

I used to suffer from severe test anxiety. Recalling vocabulary, exact dates of historical events, and mathematical formulas on a test was my worst nightmare. Luckily, when I started high school I stopped cramming for tests and discovered new strategies to actually engage with test material.

One test preparation strategy I’ve used for years is creating my own study guides. Many teachers don’t have the time to create thorough study guides for every single test or exam they give, so I enjoy creating my own with a variety of questions like multiple choice, fill in the blank, short answer questions, matching, etc.. Once I’m done creating it, I wait a day and then answer the questions myself to test how well I’ve retained the material. I’ve maintained a 4.0 GPA throughout high school and my freshman year of college, and I owe a lot of that to this strategy because it allows me to actively engage with the material rather than passively scan it and move on as I used to.

Another strategy I frequently use is speaking about a topic out loud. Whether this be with a friend, a roommate, or simply the webcam on my laptop, I review my notes out loud and explain the concept in my own words, simplifying it as if I were teaching it to someone. I’ll admit, this strategy does feel somewhat silly, and I’ve gotten weird looks while sitting in the hallway of my dorm, talking to my webcam about theatre history. However, albeit silly in nature, this strategy allows me to get a better understanding of the test material by describing it in my own words rather than memorized, verbatim definitions that I might not fully understand.

Active engagement is the key to my academic success. Long gone are the stressful days of cramming entire textbook chapters the night before an exam, reading pages again and again with tired eyes, and spending hours copying notes I don’t understand. With a bit of planning, organization, and willingness to be a little silly, any student can ace their test!

Jocelyn from Georgia
College Sophomore
University of Georgia