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

Some students are blessed with the ability to walk into an exam with minimum preparation, finish early, and walk out with hardly any difficulty. After years of trying to find the optimal way to prepare for a test, making simple visual and logical connections between issues and ideas has helped me succeed.
Rather than spending time writing flashcards or having someone quiz me on terms and definitions, I often take a page out of television detectives and public speaker’s book by creating venn diagrams and webbed displays to show how topics are related to one another. By observing their connections- chronological or otherwise- I find myself learning and interacting with the course content significantly more, as opposed to simply remembering the professor-provided study guide. By establishing a solid foundation for what I am being tested on, I am able to prepare myself what has yet to come later on in the course or future exams.
For many students who learn audibly or by repeated question-and-answer, this may not be the preferred way to get ready for a mid-term, but in the case of visual learners, I would strongly recommend this as a way to absorb new information. Drawing lines or placing sticky notes on topics helps remind me to explore new information and build a healthy concept around an otherwise skeletal bullet point on a chapter review. These “bridges” cross lapses in detail and ultimately give a student confidence going into any test.
Allowing enough time from the initial study session to exam day is always the most crucial stipulation to separate the content from being learned, to simply being crammed the night before. I never expect this sorting and organizing strategy to work for me the night before a final exam, which forces me to find out what I know and what I still struggle with beforehand. No single set of tactics provide the same results, and every student can find creative, new ways to prepare for every course and every professor.

Chad from California
College Freshman
San Diego State University