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

As an undergraduate student currently double majoring in mechanical and aerospace engineering, I have nearly perfected my test preparation practices. After all, my field of study demands it! With each passing semester, my coursework becomes increasingly cumbersome, and my success depends upon achieving excellence on each exam. In fact, many of the courses I have taken consisted of mostly tests with 30 percent of the final grade determined by a two-hour cumulative final exam. Having your entire GPA in limbo during the last week of the semester can test the will of any engineering student. Fortunately, I have developed a tried-and-true method the ensure personal success as I fight valiantly for my diploma.

In order to approach the mountain of subject matter in each test, I first begin by outlining all major topics. Once these points are identified, I determine what problems associated with each topic must be solved to solidify these concepts. Often, at least two solutions must be reworked to cover all the nuisances. After I have a small list, I begin dividing the workload while simultaneously balancing it with my other courses. Because many engineering problems can take upwards of an hour to complete, this task literally involves creating a plan over a several day period. I essentially distribute the load, and corresponding problems, in varied amounts, concentrating more of the problems on off-days or weekdays with less responsibilities. When it finally becomes time for test preparation, I make sure to reward myself every 90 minutes or so with 15 minute breaks, calls to family or friends, lunch, or time off like a workout session. I also take special care to listen to my body, hydrate, treat headaches accordingly, and stay well rested. The results of this tedious planning were a 4.0 GPA for me last semester. Although strenuous test preparation regiments like these will consume all of your waking moments, the payoff is academic excellence and overall satisfaction.

Chad from West Virginia
College Junior
West Virginia University