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

I am a son of a garbage man, one who watched his father break his body for a quarter century so his son could have a chance at a life better than his. When I study for a test, I do so armed with the unshakable work ethic he instilled in me. Over the years I have developed a method that has allowed me to walk into a test knowing I am ready for anything.

I use every tool available to me, starting with notes from class, then I will watch Youtube videos to break down anything I'm struggling to understand. At home, I like to take breaks from reading to glance over at my notes and make connections to where I am at in the book. I'm a visual learning and I know that doing this really helps me grasp larger, more complex tests.

However, the best way I learn is studying with others. There's something about learning alongside someone else that helps me connect with the material so much faster and efficiently. I ask a lot of questions in study groups and take as many notes as I can. Leading up to the night before a test, I stop studying and I eat a good meal. This requires usually some light meat, some potatoes and plenty of vegetables. I will eat a lot in hopes of replenishing nutrients I may have lost. While eating, I take time to rest my brain from the material and that really helps my nerves relax before the big day. After dinner I will study by going over my notes for another hour or so, then it's time for the next step.

The biggest difference between an amazing grade and failing a test for me will always be factored around how much sleep I get the night before. I will flunk a test if I try and stay up all night reading. The night before a big exam, I will aim around getting between 10 and 12 hours of sleep. Depending on when that class starts, that could mean going to bed as early as 8 pm. That extra rest is more than I get on most days off and I wake up feeling so energized and confident afterwards.

Once at the test, I will study up until the exam is handed out.

Trevin from California
College Junior
Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism