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

As a rising sophomore in college, I have refined by test preparation practices through many semesters’ worth of stressful finals weeks. Consistently, the best practice for me is creating study guides of all relevant material. I will start by gathering all my notes, worksheets, and previous midterms, and then I will transcribe the important lessons and questions I often answered incorrectly onto copy paper. The motion of rewriting my notes and incorrect problems increases my chances of recalling the content when I encounter similar questions on the exam. When I revisit my handwritten study guide, I will highlight the sections I still have trouble with so that I may revisit those concepts in my textbook. At the end of this process, I have a satisfying packet of handwritten notes that I can refer to easily and conveniently carry around, without having to lug around folders or flip through an entire notebook!
There are many other test preparation practices that include flashcards and sticky notes, but the practices often overlooked are the ones regarding mental health. While studying for exams or finals, I will make sure that I am sleeping at a consistent time and getting a recommended eight hours of sleep. The benefits of a good sleep routine are countless, and according to a study conducted by the University of California-Riverside, recent memories are consolidated during deep sleep. Getting a healthy amount of sleep after a full day of studying allows the brain to store the recent information so that you may recall it during an exam. I am much more likely to wake up at sunrise to study for an 8 A.M. exam than stay up late studying. This allows me to be alert during an exam, rather than dozing off or only concentrating on how tired I am. By using these preparation practices and taking care of my mental health, I can pass my exams without overwhelming stress!

Sadia from Illinois
College Freshman
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign