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

Sammy anxiously watched the clock as she clicked her pen at her desk. 11:20 p.m. Her test is due at twelve midnight and she only had four out of twenty questions submitted. Why did I procrastinate? Sammy opened her notebook and glanced over the previous weeks notes. Geometry was her least favorite subject and the test her teacher gave her was not an easy one. Weeks prior, Sammy was given the announcement of a geometry test. She was given options to stay after school to tutor with her geometry teacher as well as study sessions with classmates. Sammy decided that she would go home study on her own. Every night after she was given the date to the test, Sammy studied downstairs with her two year old brother and her boyfriend in the room. She had begun to watch a new show she found interesting on Netflix, Criminal Minds. Since she devoted an hour of her night doing homework, Sammy decided to keep the volume on her television on low so she could get through a few episodes of her show.
DING! A text alert came through her phone and snapped her back to reality. Hey babe. How’s studying? Sammy leaned back in her fuzzy desk chair. 11:45p.m. Sammy only had fifteen minutes to complete her geometry test. She now had ten questions completed out of twenty. She began to panic. The size of angle AOB is equal to 132 degrees and the size of angle COD is equal to 141 degrees. Find the size of angle DOB. As she furiously clicked her pen, Sammy closed her eyes to try to remember the strategy her teacher showed her a day prior. Everything went into a blur. She could not focus anymore. 11:53. Seven minutes left to finish her test. Sammy began clicking answers randomly and submitting them. Something is better than nothing, she thought to herself. 11:58 p.m. Sammy’s test was complete but she did not feel confident about the answers she submitted. At twelve midnight, her final grade would come through. She had never felt so defeated in her life – all because she was not prepared for a test. Twelve midnight. She clicked Grades and scrolled down to where her geometry quiz was posted. 69%. Sammy was not shocked but she was very embarrassed. “I studied every night,” Sammy said. “What am I doing wrong?!” Like Sammy, many students around the world at some point will find themselves in this same situation. Failing tests, reviewing notes last minute, distractions. As a twenty-five year old undergrad, I know all of these too well. My first year working on my Associate’s degree in Early Childhood, I had to learn the best test taking strategies for me. I had to learn what environment and what methods worked best for me to be successful during my tests. Working on my BSW degree, I know what works best for me to prepare for my tests, as well as what I can do during my tests to a passing grade.
The first test preparation strategy that will work for any student is to study using materials what will help you to understand the content more. Flashcards, making songs to help you remember the content, and reading over notes are effective test preparation strategies. The important thing about reading over notes and the textbook is to make sure as soon as the information is new in your mind, to not read it once and then wait a week until the quiz. To be successful during a test, it is important to read the material daily. Another strategy that has helped me in college is highlighting key terms in my notes and (if the textbook is not rented) in the textbook as well.
Another important test preparedness strategy is to study in a quiet, bright, environment. When choosing what room in the house where you are going to study, choose a room that is well lit (to not strain your eyes), preferably with a desk, where there are little to no people to minimize distraction. I find it easier to write a paper in my bed than to study in my bed. If I am reading/studying content, it is difficult for me to read in my bed because it is so easy for me to go into a comfortable position and fall asleep. I have missed quizzes and due dates for studying in bed and had to send an email to my professors asking for an extension. Making sure wherever you are studying is a place where you can be comfortable, but not too comfortable, and have all of your material and books within your reach.
Preparing for tests can be stressful. The material itself can seem like a lot to have to go over and it may seem as though the time given is not enough. Going into my junior year at North Carolina A&T, I have had to teach myself new strategies as well as find what strategies were already out there so I can feel confident during my tests. I found that when I feel confident during a test, I feel better and do better. Making sure to start studying earlier, and finding the perfect environment to study in are two important factors when preparing for a test. Following these test taking strategies will ensure for a successful school year.

Dakota from North Carolina
College Junior
North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University