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

I discovered my first year of college that I have ADD, or Attention Deficit Disorder, and the way most of my classmates were studying wouldn't work for me. I tried to study but ended up distracted and unprepared. My grades were falling, and I desperately needed to learn what worked for me.

This is good advice for everyone, but especially those with ADD/ADHD: You can't just cram at the last minute. For the most part you'll end up stressed and unable to retain any of the information.

My first tip is to start studying as soon as you have access to the material, even before going over it in class. I have found that reading ahead means I absorb more of the lesson as the professor is giving it, and I am better able to fill in the gaps when I lose focus. This gives me a more solid foundation when the test day arrives.

My next tip is to talk to your teacher! About 99% of the time they will be more than happy to answer your questions, and may be willing to provide an outline or study guide you can use so that you're sure to study the right thing. Along the same lines, if you're eligible for accommodations, use them!

Another tip is do something while you study that you can also do during the test. I have a ring that spins which I play with while studying. When I take the test, playing with the ring helps me recall the information. This is a trick I learned in psychology class.

Perhaps most importantly is knowing how, where, and under what conditions you study best. Personally, I have trouble focusing if it's too quiet or too loud, or if I'm hungry. I do my best studying after a meal, and in a library where there tends to be just a little background noise. Others may find a coffee shop works best, or a silent room. I study best with flash cards and by writing out important information by hand. Others may prefer using a review sheet, or forming a study group. Try a few methods and you're sure to find one that works for you, even if the traditional methods don't!

Katherine from Colorado
College Sophomore
University of Colorado Denver