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

As a physiology student and one that aspires to be a Physician Assistant I spend a large amount of time studying the human body. Everything I will learn is something I will need to use to better serve my patients one day. In addition, I hope to use my career in medicine to advice on healthcare policy to make the healthcare system better serve our patients.

My best test study strategy comes in three phases. The first phase is quizzing myself. Human beings learn best by practicing recall. So whether I am in a library studying flashcards or driving in my car trying to remember the flow of blood throughout the body. I am repeatedly forcing my brain to remember information. Which will ultimately lead to the formulation of long-term memories.

As anyone who has studied for an exam will know, remembering material is not always as simple as one would like. No matter how many times we look at that flashcard understanding how the electrical current that travels through your heart just wont stick in your brain. So this is where some creativity comes into play. When I need a little help to remember something I make up some silly metaphor that corresponds with the item I am trying to remember. For example, in organic chemistry an SN2 type reaction will not take place if there is too much “Steric Hindrance”. What the heck is that? In this situation I say an SN2 is like the middle seat vs. an aisle seat on a Southwest Airlines flight. When boarding, one is way more likely to take the aisle seat over the middle seat because you don’t have to maneuver through two people. It has been 3 years since Organic Chemistry but that has still stuck.

Finally, being able to recall facts is all fine and dandy but explaining the information to a novice is the ultimate test of your understanding of the material. So before an exam I ask to explain the information to someone who knows nothing about the topic. That way I know I have mastered it. More importantly this is developing my ability to explain complex medical information to others just like I would a patient or to a politician working on healthcare policies.

These three steps prepare me to ace both my tests as well as cultivate skills for my career.

Jasmin from Arizona
College Freshman
Midwestern University