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

As a math major, to really prepare well for tests I have to do as many practice problems as I can find. If I did all those practice problems on paper I would make a huge mess, as well as kill countless trees. What I have found I enjoy doing is writing out practice problems on whiteboards. I like being able to use multiple colors as well as the ease with which I can erase. In the absence of a whiteboard, my college roommate and I discovered that our mirror works well. She is a biology major who has to take a huge amount of exams, so this past semester our mirror was constantly covered in either the zoology terms she was trying to memorize or practice problems I was trying to master. We started calling our mirror "the board" because we used it as a whiteboard so often.

Another test preparation practice I employ is doing practice exams. This works especially well for standardized testing like SAT and CLEPs. In college, I do not always have a practice exam to study, so I try to look at homework questions my professors have assigned. For finals, I look back at all my past exams. I have found that professors tend to repeat similar problems, sometimes even the exact same problem. By doing practice tests or looking at past assignments I am able to give myself a really good idea of what will be on the exam. I also will look over the examples my professors have gone over in class. I have had professors put the exact same question on an exam that they went over in class.

Finally, I try to pay close attention to the clues my professors give in class. If a type of problem comes up multiple times, I assume it is important. If my professors say something along the lines of "You want to pay attention to this," I make a comment about it in my notes. On the other hand, if a professor talks about something that does not come up in the lecture slides or book, I will not study it as much. In this way, I can prioritize what I need to know to do well on tests.

Catherine from Maine
College Sophomore
Cedarville University