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

I’ve learned that the best strategy for studying is to prepare for a test with the same mindset as preparing for a championship game. First, I start training early. An athlete doesn’t practice the day before and expect a good result, the same way I can’t cram for a test and expect to succeed. A little practice each day goes a long way, and I find ways to incorporate studying into my daily life
For example, like most people, I spend a lot of time on my phone. But to make sure that even my time scrolling is productive, I set reminders on my phone with statements from my notes, such as “Acids have a pH of less than 7” or with a list of what topics I need to study that day. This way, I review a small piece of information each time I use my phone. Then, I update the reminders as I cover more material.

Next, memory is like a muscle; you need to exercise it! The best strategy for me to memorize content is with flashcards. Many people think flashcards should be reserved for topics like vocabulary, but I think they are ideal for complex concepts because they push me to explain topics in a concise manner. Condensing complicated notes into key concepts helps me understand content on a deeper level. Also, I can mark the cards that I struggle with and separate them to review later.

I also think that it’s important to mix up where and how I study. Repetition of drills and exercises can be beneficial in both sports and studying, but if I notice that I’m losing energy and focus, I like to switch up my studying and my location. I learn better in a place like the library because if I’m where other people are focused and working, I’ll be more inclined to do the same. Then, if I’ve been doing flashcards, I’ll switch to taking a practice test, or watching a video.

Once I think I’ve mastered a skill, I become the coach/teacher. If I can take something complex that I’ve learned and explain it simply, I’ve shown that I truly understand it and that I’m ready to score on my exam.

Alissa from Arizona
College Sophomore
University of Arizona