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

I always calculate the minimum score I need on a test for an A in the class. This is helpful for my mindset and planning. I break my studying into 1-5 days before the test day depending on the amount of material and my schedule. Test day is for reviewing everything I studied. As for the test preparation, I always start with the musts; what are the questions that will be on the test for sure. For this, I pay close attention during lecture and write down most things the professor says to know what's most important to them. This way I am guaranteed a minimum of 60% grade with least amount of work. Next, I move on to how I think the professor might trick us. Professors’ old exams, if provided, come very handy here and can potentially guarantee a minimum of B. Considering this is not a last night cram session, I start focusing on everything else on the test to ensure an A. Even here, thinking about what is more important makes studying efficient. I require fully grasping concepts and thankfully I am good at memorizing, so I memorize the rules for applicable theorems, algorithms, philosophies etc. to easily recall the big concept they construct. I do practice problems or orally test myself as needed to make sure I grasp the material. I need a minimum of 6 hours of sleep to properly function, so I make sure to get that or coffee does the trick.
Unfortunately, many students think tests determine their success in a field or life. I believe, it is the time, effort and passion you put in that counts more. Just look at how I study, it is a strategy to beat the tests professors design, and it works like a charm. I am going to be successful as a Computer Scientist because of my ability to understand the material and build something from it done in labs and personal projects, something tests don’t do. I get why they exist, but it is time we modify how we test our students’ knowledge, so it benefits and enhances their careers, and doesn't leave them as they leave the classroom.

Muhammad from Illinois
College Junior
Illinois Institute of Technology