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

As a born procrastinator, it took me well into my late teens to figure out how to effectively study. I would rely on cram sessions and good luck to get through midterms, but this left me feeling unprepared and stressed out and often doubting my own knowledge. Many of my peers would make study days but these seemed ineffective to me and more a means of socializing than actually retaining knowledge. After a particularly stressful first semester of college, I realized that the best way to prepare for exams is to trick yourself into always being prepared. Many students receive information in class and quickly put it into a lecture note document on a computer without really absorbing what the information is - professors may be moving too fast through the lecture, large class sizes make it difficult and uncomfortable to ask questions, and students are always trying to fit more activities into an already packed class schedule making it nearly impossible to actually retain any knowledge. The solution to this is simple - learn because you WANT to learn, not because you feel that it might be on a multiple choice exam. I noticed a direct correlation between actually being emotionally involved in class versus treating it like a chore and how much easier it felt to get ready for big tests. Especially with essay exams, you can’t rely on multiple choice and deductive reasoning to get you an A. However, if you become proactive and actually give meaning to the things you’re learning, then it’s much easier to feel some kind of passion and drive, and we all know it’s easier to remember things you like than the things that you don’t. Gone are the days of hundreds of flash cards and walking into exams with a blank brain! As soon as I took control of how I was processing information and knowing my own learning style, it became incredibly simple to tailor educational experiences into something that would actually stick.

Sofia from Pennsylvania
College Junior
University of Pittsburgh