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

Test preparation shouldn't be more complicated than the subject you're studying. I often hear friends talk about their study playlists, study habits, note-taking strategies, highlighting, favorite study spaces, or favorite caffeinated study aids. I'm not a fan of any of that. To me, they all sound like distractions, procrastinating from actually sitting down and dealing with the material at hand. Your set-up should be simple. Find a block of time when you know you won't be interrupted (20-50 minutes) and a quiet location with calm lighting where you won't be bothered. Put your phone somewhere you can't see or hear it- better yet, don't even bring it if you can. Bring something to drink and a snack so you won't have to get up too often (my go-to is usually tea and popcorn). That's it. Study away. Read your material. Go over your note cards. Maybe get up and take a walk once an hour for your health. This might be difficult at first. Modern life sometimes feels like a million little distractions that need your immediate attention. But a certain amount of mindfulness is necessary to study. Remind yourself that this is the thing you need to be doing now, and everything else can wait a few minutes (unless it really, really can't- it happens). Do this two to four times a week until your test, 20 minutes minimum, and you'll be fine.

Adam from Maryland
College Junior
Columbia University