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

The key in test preparation is to not put it off. A huge problem that affects college students is cramming for exams. The human brain is a creature of habit. Information that comes in must be recalled in memory rehearsal to be remembered in times of crisis (ie: during exams). The most effective practice I have learned is to study every single day. It doesn’t have to be for hours, but it does have to be every single day. This is where many fall into the trap of cramming for a test—that moment when you realize you haven’t studied nearly as much as you should have, so you mash a lot of information into your brain in a few hours. It is an easy trap to fall into, even for the most diligent students, but studying cannot be postponed. If you continue to say, “later, I don’t have time now” you allow the trap of cramming to slowly close its jaws around your exam and grade.
The second important aspect is to remain calm. Stressed studying is almost worse than no studying at all. Self-confidence and positivity are just as important as daily information rehearsal in studying. In my own life the most effective way to have minimal stress during finals week was perspective. Viewing myself as more than just a number or a grade in a course helped me to realize that it is more important that I try my hardest and enjoy learning than get a 4.0 GPA. As a good friend of mine once said, “This is just one test in one course that will probably not affect the rest of your life or career.” Positivity can be found in the little things and a practice I used often during studying this semester was grounding: the act of paying close attention to each of your five senses, which has the effect of reminding you that there is more to life than a grade on an exam.
Test anxiety is a major problem for many college students, but it can be overcome by diligent daily study and increasing self-confidence with perspective.

Nicole from Arizona
College Freshman
University of Arizona