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

The best way to prepare for an event is to reproduce the conditions of said event as exactly as possible during practice. Therefore, the best way to prepare for a test is to, as much as possible, reproduce the conditions of taking the test. When I'm studying, this is exactly what I do, and this is what has led me to keep my 4.0.

This is easy to do if your professor is willing to help you. I like to ask my professors, in person during office hours or over email, if they have an old quiz or test on the same subject that I could use to practice with. If so, I'll make a few photocopies of the test. That way I can sit down and take one of the tests, review the answers, study the areas I missed, and once I feel that I've understood it, take the test another time. If the professor doesn't have an old test, I'll use a study guide or my notes to create my own test, focusing on the areas I think are most important or most likely to appear.

It can help to try to recreate the testing environment. Once I decide to take one of my mock tests, I'll bring it with me somewhere less familiar. I'll use a library, a cafe, or even an empty classroom at my university. Anywhere that reflects the testing environment, ideally a relatively-quiet space with other people in it, works. I leave my notes behind, too, because I won't have access to them during the real test.

I'm a firm believer that how you perform at your worst (under pressure, in competitive conditions, during a test) accurately reflects your ability. If I falter under pressure, rather than thinking it's the pressure that messed me up, I believe that I didn't understand the material well enough to answer it accurately under pressure. This way, I can prepare myself to do well even under the worst case scenario, not just assuming conditions will be favorable. My test preparation practices reflect this philosophy, and they've allowed me to do well in school.

Elliot from Louisiana
College Junior
Northwestern State University of Louisiana