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

Beginning the fall semester of my first year of college made me feel just like a fish out of water. The same tactics used in high school of merely skimming the textbook for equations and notes before a test no longer cut it. Test preparation was not something I was used to until after my first real college exam in Calculus left me with a big fat C. From that moment on, I knew my strategy had to change and I forced myself to learn how to study after years of not really knowing how.

As the semester went on, there were many trials and errors with my strategy, but it came down to 4 simple steps. The first was to ensure note-taking was a priority. It didn’t matter if it wasn’t the neatest, as long as I was able to jot down the essentials. Then, after class, time was spent rewriting the haphazard gibberish across my paper neatly while making sure I understood the concept. If I was unsure, I would take the time to look up videos to strengthen my understanding. Doing all this helped make sure I wasn’t cramming a bunch of different concepts I didn’t know come exam week.

When exam week did come, I would utilize the recommend problems given to me by my professor. It was vital that I took the time to do all the problems and understand the reason behind me crossing random things out. This helped with understanding the concept and not just memorizing the way to do a problem.
The last, but most important step in my strategy was to get a good night’s sleep. Being awake at 3 a.m. trying to cram more into your brain when you have to be awake at 8 a.m. isn’t going to help anyone. When you’re sleep-deprived, you’re more prone to simple, careless mistakes that well-rested you wouldn’t have made.

Using these 4 steps soothed my transition from high school to college and let me finish my first real college final exam in Calculus with a big fat A.

Alice from New Jersey
College Freshman
Rutgers University