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

Undoubtedly, the most important way to prepare for a test is to start early! As soon as I learn new material, I write it down, otherwise I will forget it soon. This means that test preparation begins in class or with the textbook; you can't remember material you never learned, and it is hard to remember where you learned the material if you never wrote it down. Once I have the class note, the next step is to summarize them. This forces me to put the material into categories that I already have in my head, instead of making new categories that are hard to remember under pressure. There is no need to wait until you have all the material to begin summarizing it. Paper is cheap, so summarize once a week if you need to. These summarized notes will also be easier to study from, because everything is closer together on the page and organized. I am a visual learner, so if I can fit everything from a chapter (or semester) on one page, I can often recall it by remembering where it is on that page. Learn your teacher’s testing style, and see if you can write answers to questions you think your teacher would ask. Don’t be afraid to summarize more than once! I often have a semester summary that I build slowly, while I work on the chapter review sheets separately. Once you have fit all the material for the test onto the same page of paper, you have an excellent test review, provided you did the work in and outside class and actually understand the material. Finally, to really drill the material home, I try to recreate as much of the review sheet as I can from memory. This often takes several tries, but once I have done it successfully, I am done studying for that test. For further review, I simply need to recreate the sheet from memory again, which should become easier and easier the more I do it. But remember: you must categorize the information when you put it on the review sheet. Simply making 50 bullet points in a small font will not do much to make them easier to remember.

Caleb from Pennsylvania
College Junior
Bob Jones University