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

Having been a student for 17 years, I have learned a few habits that work well for efficient studying. The first habit is to establish a schedule and rhythm of studying. Planning out what, how much, and when to study helps construct a path where a clear goal is being set and how to accomplish it. Having periodic rewards throughout the process also allows for the experience to be more enjoyable and make the session feel less like a prison.

I also aim to actually understand the material that is being studied, not to only memorize it for later regurgitation. The best means to do this is through multiple exposure to the material multiple times through a period of time while synthesizing new information with old information. This habit is based off the concept of Ebbinghaus’ Forgetting Curve. The graph displays how much information an individual retains after being exposed to a topic over time. After one exposure, the amount learned depreciates quickly. Although, several exposures to the material in a timely fashion (every day for several days) enables for most of the material to be retained for a significantly longer period of time. Habits that I’ve established to reflect this is to study specific material every day for a week and to stack on new material while reviewing the old.

A less traditional method that I use is to study under familiar environments and situations that simulate the testing environment. For instance, if I have an exam at 8 am at a cubicle desk, I will study in the morning at a small desk in the corner of a room. I will also use other things to stimuli my senses while I study that I can also replicate on test day. For example, I will study while fasted, chew a unique flavor of gum, and listen to particular music. On test day, I’ll listen to the music before entering the room and will chew the same flavor of gum while remaining fasted that morning.

Samuel from New York
College Junior