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

I've never been someone for whom test-taking has come easy. In order to succeed in school, I needed to figure out a winning strategy if I was going to be able to tackle test taking anxiety. What has served me is a multi-step procedure that allows me to review, practice, and demonstrate the material in time for my exam. First, I make a checklist of the textbook chapters the exam is meant to cover. I divide those chapters over the days I have before the exam so I can focus on mastering the material a little bit at a time. Then, for each day, I re-read the textbook chapters I assigned myself, taking all relevant notes in a review notebook. It helps if I color code, or highlight if there isn't a lot of time. I also usually find myself looking for supplementary material on the subject matter pertaining to my current chapters, since sometimes it's helpful to hear someone on the internet explain it to me in a different way than the textbook can. When I finish the chapter(s), I check them off of my list and move on to revision. I make flash cards to help me remember the most important content that I found while reviewing. By this point, I'm usually feeling pretty burnt out, so it can be fun to do this part with a friend over snacks. Flashcards are great when there's a group of you that need to review for the same test, and it can be a reminder that you're not alone in this. Once I feel confident that I know the material from flashcards, I work with someone from my class and we "teach" each other the material to see if we've retained and processed it well enough to explain it to someone else. Restating material like this can help you look at it in a different way and come to a deeper understanding. By this point, I can safely say I've mastered the section I was going for. I start early so I can work my way through all the covered chapters for my exam with enough time to contact the professor if there's something I can't figure out on my own. This method has really saved me.

Kira from Illinois
College Junior
Illinois Institute of Technology