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

It seems like some students thrive on last-minute 'cramming'. But most experts will agree, cramming isn't effective. The biggest problem with cramming, according to UCLA professor of psychiatry Andrew Fuligni, is that cramming causes students to sacrifice sleep time in order to study. While it's not possible to perform well on a test without the required knowledge, sleep is critical for academic success. Sacrificing sleep for an additional 3 or 4 hours of study is often counterproductive. One of the most important test preparation tips I can give is to grant yourself enough time to study. Don't procrastinate! It's best to begin preparing long before the day of a test. Make it a habit to complete reading assignments on time and frequently review lecture notes. If you're preparing for mid-term or final exams, you'll want to organize your time so you can dedicate more time to those exams that are more important or are going to be more demanding.

Make time for studying. Setting aside regular time to study is critical for achieving high test performance. I recommend preparing a term calendar, weekly schedule, and daily schedule that includes regular study sessions. It's so easy for work and other activities to quickly take precedence over studying, so plan your study time in advance. As you progress through the term it's okay to amend your study schedule to meet your needs, but make sure you plan study sessions in advance – and that you stick with them.

Lastly, start a final review of all lecture notes, reading assignments, and other class materials that will help you prepare, a couple days before the test. You can do this review by yourself or as part of a study group. Working as part of a study group is an excellent way to review in preparation for an exam. Reviewing in preparation for a test as part of the study group will allow you to improve your notes, fill in any gaps in your understanding, and most importantly, provide you a support system.

Ambar from Florida
High School Senior
Winter Haven Senior High School