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

I try to follow a basic guideline: no cramming. It requires a lot of work up front but pays dividends near midterms and finals. As I progress through the semester, I use flashcards and supplementary assignments to commit information to memory. a week before a test I will bring out my collection of study materials and review what I do and do not know. If I have forgotten anything, I take time to look it up and learn it properly.
The twenty-four hours before the test is the most crucial. I set my study materials aside and spend the day not thinking about the matter. I will only look over them one last time before bed. If I prepared properly, this final review is only meant to lock in what I already know. By saving the review for just before I close my eyes, I allow my brain to stew on the information while I sleep. I try to get a full night’s rest before any test, and an equally-full breakfast in the morning.
The final steps of my test preparation practices are more of a ritual than a method of information acquisition. I make myself a thermos of tea, not coffee since that makes me jittery, and I show up to the test thirty minutes early. By doing so, I can get the caffeine I might need to stay awake, and I can calm my nerves before taking the test. I will not look at any materials at this point, and I have to trust that I either know what I need to know, or I do not. Either way, I feel comfortable in the knowledge that I put in the hours and it will reflect in my performance on the test.
I developed these habits in the military when preparing for the annual Defense Language Proficiency Test, and have found that this method keeps me on the Dean's list in college.

Jeremiah from Indiana
College Junior
Indiana University Bloomington