Write an essay where you tell us what test preparation practices work best for you and why.
My favorite test preparation technique is teaching others what I learn. Describing my assignments and what I learn to people who are not taking the same courses really helps me grasp the concepts. This helps me learn because I am able to ensure I actually understand the material. I can read the book and think I understand the lesson, but trying to teach the lesson to someone else really solidifies the concepts and definitions. In addition to this technique, I enjoy writing about what I learn. Whether it be responding to discussion questions or just telling my teacher what I learned specifically, writing it all out in an essay format is extremely helpful! It allows me to not only re-read information over and over, but it also allows me to critically think about what I’ve learned and how I can describe it.
Another technique I use a lot is simple note-taking. I highlight sentences in the textbook, write out definitions, and bullet points important concepts or sections that I would need to focus more on. Taking notes is beneficial because I can always refer back to them if I need more clarification. Once I’ve finished taking notes and completing assignments, that’s when I will begin teaching others about what I’ve learned. It’s important to do all of this with at least two days before the test day, that way I can ensure I understand everything thoroughly. It also helps me to consider everything I learn from the perspective of real life. If I cannot apply my learning to the real world, I have a hard time remembering it. Therefore, the more I learn and teach and re-teach and re-learn, the better off I’ll be during a test!
Finally, the use of other techniques really depends on the subject and the content. For example, if it is solely a vocabulary test then I would study with another person. After writing the definitions according to each word, I would read that list at least two times. Then another person will ask me what each word means and that’s typically the only way I prepare for vocabulary tests. If I were to take a short answer test in which each question requires a written answer, then I would study much in the same way I solidify my knowledge: by teaching someone else. Finally, if I were to take a multiple-choice test, I like to specifically identify key components to each concept. This is extremely helpful because it really breaks down what I need to know and why. That way, it will be easier for me to recognize which choice best suits the question.
Olivia from Arizona
University of Arizona