Write an essay where you tell us what test preparation practices work best for you and why.
As a musician, much of my life is intertwined with music, and studying is no exception. Similar to how athletes have "hype playlists" that they listen to before games, I have playlists to help me shift gears as I progress through the stages of my test preparation process. For over four years, I have been curating multiple playlists that I listen to as I study. I've got a playlist for reading course texts, a playlist for doing practice problems, and even a playlist for my walk to the exam room. Today, listening to them puts me in a focused, primed mindset that is ideal for studying and helps me to stay mentally locked-in for my test preparation. With enough exposure, we can build associations between music and events or sensations. Since I have come to associate the sounds of my playlists so strongly with studying, the focusing effect that it has on me is very effective. Importantly, all of the music in my study playlists might be considered "non-intrusive," in that they are instrumental pieces and are largely orchestral. This way, their sounds don't become distractors rather than help me focus.
However, this trick comes at the price of not being able to listen to songs in these playlists outside of the test prep setting, since doing so may weaken the association that they have or even trigger the studying state of mind when not called for! So to anyone who would like to try this method yourself, it wouldn't hurt to make your playlist with songs that you aren't too fond of.
Kyle from Pennsylvania
University of Pittsburgh