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

I am not great at test-taking. I know and understand the content; however, when it comes time to take the exam, my mind goes completely blank. I break out in heavy perspiration, even in a well air-conditioned environment. Even with open-book exams, I stress so badly that I cannot remember where to content is located. Unfortunately, I have been this way since high school.
Many, many years ago (OK, when I was in high school), my Geometry teacher basically told me that I would not amount to anything and that I would always fail. I was in a college prep track and was doing quite well. However, this teacher was very frustrated with the class’s inability to grasp her teaching methods and began spewing defamatory remarks to various ones in her class; I was one of her victims. I eventually transferred into a business math class in order to maintain my GPA. Although I did pretty good on the PSAT’s, my guidance counselor informed my mother that “I should marry rich so I could have a decent life”. Needless to say, that comment did not go over well with my mother. I am not sure if the unproductive condescending remarks from two people I considered to be a part of engineering my academic success is the reason that I have some blockage when it comes time to taking an exam – I just know I have spent a life-time proving them wrong. I eventually got into real estate and banking which required sitting for board exams for certifications and licensing. I had to try to find a way to retain the information in order to be successful. I worked in a profession that required for me to record conversations conducted at meetings outside of meeting minutes. What I discovered is that I remembered conversations!
After the meetings, I could recall what someone said, where people sat and the order in which the conversation flowed. I decided that during my studies, I would hold “conversations” with friends and family about the content that I was studying. I would not just speak or review the content; but, actually speak the practice questions in conversation format. My friends and family members would patiently sit on the phone, across coffee and/or sometimes dinner while I “talked” about my content. Sometimes they would just nod in agreement or offer an “hmmm” out of interest. They would even ask questions, which was great because I gave me an opportunity to speak to the information in greater detail. When it came time for me to take the test, I would simply recall the “details of the conversation” resulting in being able to spot the answers more quickly and easily on the exams. Changing my mindset on how to respond to the answering questions as conversations also helped eliminate the psychological stress of taking a test.
I am glad that I applied for this scholarship because the essay serves as a reminder for me of one of the tactics I used in the past to be successful when faced with taking exams. I will once again begin calling on family and friends to have “conversation” with them so that I can be more successful in test-taking.
By the way, I did not marry rich; and have been blessed to have a great career path. However, I will began to have more meaningful “conversations” again. I am now back in school finishing my degree in Business Administration with hopes of transitioning my passion for mentoring others into a more formal platform that will encourage people to continue moving forward towards their destiny regardless of what has been said to them to thwart their dreams. Most of my friends have returned to school as well and are business majors. Hopefully, our “conversations” about our studies will create a win-win situation during our academic journey.

MARCIA from Pennsylvania
College Junior
University of Phoenix