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

The test preparation practices that work best for me are straightforward and often repetitive. There is no secret, magical method to retaining knowledge, since different students possess varying learning styles, but I think most methods, my own included, require a foundation of organization, self-discipline, time management skills, and solid work ethic. Simply completing the required readings and taking notes during class is not enough preparation, for me, to excel on exams.

I often re-read and re-write notes I have taken in class in order to enhance my comprehension of test material. I find that re-phrasing information taught in the classroom, rather than simply memorizing particular phrases, ensures that I actually retain the teachings. In other words, it is easier to allow myself time to actually understand the material than to merely memorize answers for tests. Writing the same information down more than once helps me remember what I learned. I did not have to study much in high school, so college was a bit of a shock to the senses; I had to re-frame my way of thinking in order to maintain academic success. Once I realized that I was not studying to "conquer" a particular test, but in order to further my own knowledge and education, my test preparation went more smoothly.

Another vital aspect of my test prep routine is devoting time each day to review class materials. In my first year of undergraduate studies, I was the student who tried to put off studying and cram at the last minute, which has never been a wise or viable strategy. I have found that even minimal studying on a daily basis is more effective for me than cramming the entire night before an exam. I have had to incorporate a study schedule, and the structure has helped my test-taking tremendously. When I had no particular test preparation routine I was prone to procrastination, but implementing these new habits has definitely made improvements in my test-taking abilities.

Natalie from Oklahoma
College Junior
Colorado State University - Global