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

A grilled cheese sandwich, lemonade, and "soothing piano music 4-hour loop" are not things that many people associate with test preparation, but I think I have a bit of a different approach than others. I used to spend multiple days preparing for one subject. Since then I've learned that test preparation doesn't have to be daunting or drab. Sitting in a calm place like a small coffee shop or in a sunny park is the best way for me to start preparing for a test. Feeling comfortable is so important, and I've noticed that my test grades improve when I take good care of myself and establish positive feelings towards studying.
Personally, I've found that flash cards are my favorite way to study, especially if I'm preparing for a class like Anatomy, which requires lots of memorization. I go through the stack of cards and make two piles: one with things I understand really well and the other with concepts I need to work on. This helps me understand my weaknesses, and I can effectively go through the same troublesome cards until I feel confident. Another great way to study is making what I call an "fact sheet", or a page with everything I need to know, down to the smallest of details. I've realized that I'm a visual learner, so seeing all of the concepts together is really helpful. Sometimes I utilize flow charts to organize my thoughts and understand how different pieces of a question work together. Finally, my favorite way to prepare for a test is to meet up with a friend and try to teach them the concepts. I give them my fact sheet so they can ask me questions about the material, and I verbally explain whatever math problem or list I'm trying to learn. Great test preparation begins with good attendance in class, detailed notes, and pacing oneself to study in small pieces rather than taking on a whole semester in one sitting. However, it goes beyond these habits to include sitting in a quiet, cozy environment and setting challenging but attainable goals.

Elena from Virginia
College Sophomore
George Mason University