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

I mix things up a lot. Call it undiagnosed dyslexia; call it forgetfulness; but even now as an adult and a teacher myself, I struggle to remember the order of basic things. Like when I write "field" is it "I-E" or "E-I?" I have to write it down both ways, and the one that looks less goofy is the right one. In my Photography class, it took me YEARS to remember whether to teach kids that filling with foreground color is "command-delete" or "option-delete..." I would need to do it wrong once to know whether I was teaching them the right way. Then I came up with a plan. I wish I had come up with the idea while I was in high school, not as an adult pursuing a Masters! I have learned that I remember things better by making relationships. This is done on a rudimentary level with memorization aids like mnemonic devices. Those may help for getting answers right on a test, but not as well for long-term memory storage. Creating relationships gets at the memory recall at a deeper level. It works like this: Whatever thing you want to differentiate, make a story about it. This works every time I teach a set of identical twins in the same class, especially new students I am breaking the ice with. It sounds silly, but on the first day of school, I take a good look at them to make a mental note of any minute difference between them, and then ask them which of them is the "evil twin." Usually one of them immediately admits to being the evil twin. Then in my head and on paper, I connect that one and their features as the "evil twin." It works surprisingly well. When I need to remember facts, like whether "Fill with Foreground" in Photoshop is "command-delete" or "option-delete." I first visualize looking at my keyboard. On the left-hand side of the keyboard, the Option key is on the left, and on the toolbar, the Foreground color is on the left, therefore to fill with the Foreground color is "Option-delete." It's a complicated process, but it works every time.

Kirk from Utah
College Junior
Western Governors University