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

As an Arizona Science, Engineering and Math (ASEMS) Scholar and a previous AP/Honors student, I have had great success in exercising healthy test preparation practices, such as creating an eight-day study plan to prepare for upcoming tests. Within this study plan, I incorporate active learning strategies such as retrieval practice, elaboration, and interleaving to help me to better retain the information that I am studying. I begin on Day One by dividing the test material that I will be reviewing into four parts: Part A, B, C, and D. I then plan to study each of the four sections over the course of eight days. On Day Two, I thoroughly review all material in Part A by using my notes to create study sheets, self-quizzing myself using flashcards, and creating mind maps in order to link individual concepts. By doing so, I am incorporating the active learning strategies of retrieval practice and elaboration because I am actively making associations between new information and concepts from what I had already learned in class. On Days Three, Four, and Five, I thoroughly review Parts B, C, and D, respectively. I also use the same strategies that I had used for Day One. Next, on Day Six, I revisit Parts A and B. On Day Seven, I review Parts C and D fully. Lastly, on Day Eight, I review all parts and focus on any problem areas. This strategy is referred to as interleaving because I am alternating the materials that I am studying, not focusing on a single topic. Interleaving improves the brain’s memory and allows it to further distinguish between different concepts, thus allowing for better retrieval of information. My eight-day study strategy has allowed me to be well-prepared for tests because it helped me to understand and retain the information, rather than memorize it. It is for this reason that I persevered in my first year of college. I highly encourage other students to utilize this plan with hopes that they will also be successful in their academic endeavors.

Kiarra from Arizona
College Freshman
University of Arizona