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

Driving around the Washington D.C. area, or any area in the United States for that matter, you will pass numerous cars decorated with “MY KID IS AN HONOR STUDENT” bumper stickers. Growing up, my family was never one of those families. My mother drove me, her honor-roll-less child, around in a bumper-sticker-less Mazda.
Today, I am a sophomore in college who is in my college’s honor program, has a 4.0 GPA, is in an international honor society, and volunteers weekly as a literacy tutor for elementary school students. School has never come naturally to me, but I have grown into a successful college student because I have mastered my test preparation routine.
The first step of my test preparation routine is to review my notes after each lecture. Setting a time limit provides an incentive, so my time limit is that I have to review my notes within 24 hours of attending the lecture. Reviewing my notes is a practice that works for me because it takes minimal effort, gets me started with the process of studying for an exam, and helps me remember things better in the long run.
I begin to seriously prepare for an exam about two weeks before taking it. To start, I look at my calendar and plan for when I will study. I do not make my study sessions longer than one hour because if I study for more than that, I will begin to lose focus and retain less information. Even if I do not stay perfectly on schedule, planning my study sessions helps me to avoid cramming at the last minute and feel less overwhelmed.
To begin each study session, I write down my goals for the hour. This includes which specific chapters or topics I will study during the hour and how I will study them. Writing down my goals helps me stay organized and on-topic. Once I begin studying, I will set a 15-30 minute timer and challenge myself to beat the clock with whatever material that I am working on. I grew up as an athlete, so adding a bit of competition to my study routine helps motivate me to stay focused.

Naki from District of Columbia
College Sophomore
Montgomery College