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

Test preparation is something I struggled with a lot when I was still in high school and into college. Putting things off until a night or two before the exams wore on me mentally and caused a ripple effect in my life. I didn't know what to do, but I had a great tutor who gave me some advice. It changed my academic trajectory completely.

One of the first things he got me into the mindset of is treating school the same as I do my job. He said when you slack on a company it mostly hurts others, but when you slack in school you're only hurting yourself. The first thing he convinced me to do was fix my sleep schedule. Being tired on exam days because I had binged studying the night before was common. It wasn't doing me any good to cram because I retained so little of what I studied. Regular bedtime and waking up led to me eating breakfast every morning as well. Giving me the energy to stick with my studying.

When I have exams coming up in a week I now sit down and write out an outline of what the test should contain. This also lets me briefly review everything that has been gone over as well to see how much I remember of each area. I then order the outline to alternate between things I know well and things I am struggling to remember. This prevents me from becoming frustrated from studying something I don't understand or know over and over. I like to think of it as the slow jog when you are out running. Work my brain hard and then keep it motoring, but able to space out more while I review something I know well. I work my way down the outline as the week progresses towards the exam. Each day before studying I spend 5 minutes or so reviewing what I went over the day before. Finally the day before the exam or the morning of, depending on exam time, I revisit my outline. Reorder it now from what I know least to most. Then try and cram whatever I am still not as sure about beforehand. Though this process may be too rigid for some it works amazing for me.

Brandon from Colorado
College Sophomore
University of Northern Colorado