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

As I write this, I’m also preparing for my CLEP exam in psychology. There is a lot of memorization required for this test. What I always do is build a study guide of things that my teacher indicates might be on the test. Also, I think, “what would I put on this test if I created it?”. Then I research the answers and add them to the guide. I use several types of mnemonic techniques to memorize while I’m reviewing the study guide. Mnemonics are the study and development of systems for improving and assisting the memory. I try to use as many senses as possible in the mnemonics I use. For example, I like to use music. For long sentences or paragraphs, I think of a song and insert those words into the song. I sing this song to myself at random times of the day, like in the car on the way to school. I also like to use visual memory to form associations. For example, for the “Skinner Box”, I visualize dry skinner spaghetti as the bars on a cage that holds a mouse. Sometimes the order of the letters in the text can be a mnemonic. For example, “My Very Educated Mother Just Served Us Nine Pizzas” is an effective way to memorize the order of the planets in our solar system. I like to review the material in several formats: By myself, with others quizzing me, or with a study group. The more formats the better. Memory cards are great if you have time to write them. If the studying involves working problems like in math or science classes, memorization in addition to practice really helps. I try to practice as many problems as I can and sometimes create my own practice exercises by changing the numbers and other details. Also, it’s important to take a break and study no longer than 50 minutes at a time. The reason is that the average human attention span is less than 50 minutes. It is probably less these days with the effect of social media. During these breaks, I like to do something physical like go for a run, climb stairs, do sit-ups—anything to keep the blood flowing. Of course, it’s important to minimize distractions. It is difficult sometimes, but the more I can turn the mobile phone off or put it away, the better. Also, a quiet place like my room or the library is a great place to study. The last suggestion I have is to just plain work hard. Review the material over and over again. Spend every spare minute you have reviewing and practicing. An hour before the test, do a quick review to sharpen your short-term memory.

London from Oklahoma
High School Senior
Christian Heritage Academy