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

For the longest time I was a chronic procrastinator. I would start and finish my assignments the day they were due. I would begin studying the night before a test. And more often than not, I would get away with this.

I didn't believe people when they said that college would be harder than high school; I thought that hopeful and determined cramming would still bring me success.

But alas, I was wrong. Of course I was. The 62% I received on the first exam of my college career finally exposed my study habits for what they were: toxic.

Since that exam, I have made an effort to improve my test preparation practices. Instead of cracking open my notes on the eve of testing days, I try to start reading them over around a week in advance. For me, this is the "Goldilocks Zone" of studying - a week usually gives me enough time to review the material at a comfortable pace without taking away too much time from my other priorities.

During this week, in addition to reviewing my notes, I try to take advantage of available resources. I go to review sessions, take practice exams, and work through additional problems to build confidence in my understanding of the material. For my computer science classes, I’ve found that writing out my code is more helpful than simply rereading typed scripts. Going into a stressful testing environment, I take solace in knowing that I have taken many measures to prepare; I am able to focus on conquering the beast rather than worry about the consequences of my failure.

After the test, regardless of how I think I scored, I try to relax and reward myself for my hard work. I feel that it’s important to take your mind off an exam right after you take it to avoid harboring any futile anxieties.

With these recently acquired testing habits, some of the dread of test-taking has actually turned into excitement. My grades have improved as well as my confidence. I look forward to showing off what I know (and to treating myself for a job well done).

Allison from South Carolina
College Freshman
Georgia Institute of Technology