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

Preparing for a test can be a) daunting, b) confusing, c) anxiety-inducing, or d) all of the above. However, it doesn’t have to be! I have several techniques and favorite strategies that I employ to minimize the struggle and maximize my test-taking success. Following these habits has allowed me to discover the optimal answer to the opening sentence: e) none of the above. Let’s begin!

1. Start early and take good notes. Good notes are a great reference for connecting new material in the text to what the teacher said in class, and serve as a personal memory booster. Bonus benefit: the physical act of writing down notes causes the brain to store information more effectively.

2. Review what you learned. The evening after class, sit down and review your notes. Then go through the textbook or other course materials and be able to describe the main points of the lesson. Finally, throw in some extra online research to form a solid understanding. This practice works well for me because I have found that by promptly and frequently refreshing on what I have learned, my memory is enhanced, and I feel more confident when I take the test.

3. Study smart. One smart strategy is to switch strategies, depending on the test. For a math test, practicing lots of problems is the way to go. For a biology test, drawing out diagrams helps me the most in not just memorizing, but understanding, the processes. For a history test, flash cards, either physical or online, are great for memorization. Also, stay organized by setting study goals and sticking to a schedule.

4. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. I have noticed that my most successful tests were the ones for which I asked the teacher questions, went to tutoring or TAs, and formed study groups. This strategy is especially helpful for studying for the SAT or ACT. Also, if you are given study guides or worksheets, use them!

By following these test-taking strategies, you’ll be well on your way to getting that A! Good luck!

Carolina from Arizona
College Junior
Arizona State University