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

Since learning several psychological concepts, I have found the best way to rapidly learn and prepare for tests. Encoding information, spacing effect, Ebbinghaus forgetting curve are concepts that have changed my approach to test preparation.
Human's process, store, and retrieve information or memory. In order to have a better chance remembering information, that information needs to be encoded or processed.
Different approaches to encoding are visual, acoustic, and semantic or adding meaning and greatly increase the chance that something will be remembered. When I study, I read information out loud, underline key concepts or vocabulary in different colors and give special meaning to vocabulary. Furthermore, mnemonics or memory aids especially with vivid imagery and organization increase memory retention. I usually make acronyms, rhymes, or visualize a person applying key information.
I use spacing effect when I prepare. In 1985 Ebbinghaus found that spacing or distributing practice led to better memory retention. To apply this, I study prepare three or four days before a test or a quiz. I usually study thirty minutes to an hour every day.
Ebbinghaus forgetting curve and serial position effect help me avoid mistakes when studying. Ebbinghaus forgetting curve is the concept that information is forgotten rapidly then levels off. Knowing this, I do a quick review of what I learned in class. The serial position effect is the tendency to recall the first and last items well. So, I spend an extra amount of time focusing on information in the middle of a unit.
Putting to use what learned in psychology, I start my review the day I learn new information by telling someone what I learned in class. Then three to four days before the test, I prepare by reading out loud highlighting information, creating meaning and using mnemonics. I focus my attention towards the middle of the unit. Using these strategies, I am able to recall information well and succeed on my tests.

Akriti from Arizona
College Freshman
The University of Arizona