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

To be honest, the best test preparation strategies are not taking notes and reading textbooks repeatedly (ugh so boring!), but rather immersing yourself in the material and really understanding it. Doing practice problems or asking yourself questions about the concepts has always proven the best way to do well on exams for me personally and has never let me down. I've stopped taking notes during lecture and just listened to what the professor had to say while trying to understand the concept at hand. In doing so, I have gained a better grasp of the material and can actively think of a way to the solution for the answer.

Many students make the mistake of cramming the night before an exam, but time and time again this has proven infective for many reasons. In addition, as soon as the exam is over, students also forget everything they've learned as they only put the information in their short term memory. Various studies have shown that actively trying to recall information once you've learned it actually increases memory retention in the long term so that you can really understand and know the material long before the exam even dooms ahead of you. By just practicing the active recall bit by bit each night, you can retain the information for a long time, even after the exam!

I believe that students everywhere have not really been taught the right way to prepare for exams and resort to basic reading and highlighting. However, if they were made aware of how ineffective these strategies are and how to fix them, many would be able to excel in their classes with less effort than they've been putting in trying to cram for their exams. This is a continuous problem not only in America but all around the world. The norm for test preparation needs to be changed as it has never helped anyone in the first place. If more students tried these other effective methods, the results would indeed be tremendous!

Madeline from California
College Freshman
UCLA