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

Studying for an exam is something that I learned how to do much later in life than most people. I used to hardly study at all, just skimming my notes before an exam, and still had a 4.0 GPA until halfway through my junior year in high school when everything changed. At that time, I suffered a bad concussion that took away my photographic memory. When I had recovered enough to go back to school, I discovered that I was no longer doing well on exams or in school. Since then, I have developed various test-taking strategies that have helped me become successful in school again.

I like to begin studying for an exam at least a week in advance. At first, I just read through my notes a couple of times a day to refresh my memory on the content that I have learned. As the exam gets closer, I begin to memorize key information from my notes and from the text. I also make sure that I understand each fact and concept, so that I am more likely to recall the information for the exam even if I can’t remember the exact wording. A day or two before the test, I like to grab a friend and explain the different concepts from memory. Teaching someone else what I have learned has been one of the most useful strategies I have found in reinforcing information before an exam. The final step of my studying is reviewing previous quizzes and exams, especially any questions that I got wrong.

Other small tips and tricks that I have learned include asking for help from a classmate or professor if I don’t understand something, making sure I get enough sleep the night before the exam, eating a healthy breakfast the morning of the exam, and chewing a piece of gum to help me concentrate when I am taking the exam. Each person’s brain is wired a little differently, so not all test strategies will be as effective for some people as they are for others. However, these are the methods that I have used over the past couple of years, and they have greatly helped me to study well and get my 4.0 GPA back.

Megan from California
College Junior
The Master's University