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

Over the years I’ve applied a few different practices when it comes to test preparation. Unfortunately, I never mastered the art of learning by osmosis so I’ve relied on other methods.
Early on in my lifelong learning career, I’d say my go-to was cramming. I would gather all my notes and books, dive into each chapter the night before the test then try and get last minute glances at my notes right before test time. There were a few reasons this worked for me, the first being: it had to. I didn’t give myself ample study time but I wanted to do well so I knew I had to make the most of what time I did have. Second, I’d like to think I work well under pressure, why else would I have procrastinated so much? The closer I got to a test date the more focused I became. Lastly, I paid attention in class. In paying attention, I found that I knew a good amount of material so I could focus more on things I had forgotten or didn’t know as well. Those things would be fresh in my mind come test time.
Paying attention in itself is a huge part of test preparation. To elaborate, paying attention allows me to grasp concepts and make connections. I gain an understanding of the who, what, where, when, why and how. This helped to actually learn/know the material making it easier to remember rather than just trying to memorize to reproduce the information for a test then forget it all afterwards.
As I’ve grown, my test preparation has become more methodical, especially for bigger exams. I essentially set a schedule by blocking out time in my days for studying. I gather all my preparation materials, sit at a table and turn off all unnecessary electronics; no distractions. I go over the material, take notes and make flashcards because writing things down helps. I’ll quiz myself and narrow my focus. I do allow for studying the day before but not much. At this point, I’m confident. I get a good amount of rest and a good meal so I have clarity, take a deep breath and conquer!

Tiffany from North Carolina
College Junior
Mayo Clinic College of Medicine