Re-reading the textbook won’t help

2017 – 2018 Scholarship Entry – Test Preparation Essay
Test Preparation Inc. Scholarship

Celine Copeland

Since the start of school, I have always struggled with test taking. There has always been anxiety and fear that comes with taking and preparing for tests. As I have become more experienced in taking tests I have learned the best ways to succeed and ultimately maintain a GPA that I am proud of. My test preparation method has also helped relieve anxiety because now I am more confident going into exams.

Today, many university students are using the wrong methods to study for their exams. Re-reading the textbook and re-reading notes is a default for most students. However, from what I have experienced this is not the best use of time. I find that combining reading in the form of flash cards helps me learn the concepts over a longer period and reduces my fear of blanking out on an exam. Using flashcards coupled with writing down what I remember and listening to myself on a recording device combines both auditory and visual learning.

For me, the best way to prepare for a test has been to treat it like a speech or presentation. In my first year of university, I took an introduction to public speaking course that really resonated with me. I learned the most effective ways to deliver a speech and memorize a speech. Rehearsing for a speech is like preparing for an exam. In both cases reading notes aloud and listening to a voice recording can be very helpful in absorbing the information.

My test preparation method first consists of rewriting all my lecture notes and highlighting the keywords. I love using different coloured pens and highlighters because once I get to the test I remember the sentence or words associated with that colour. I also use coloured paper, bullet points, boxes, and diagrams because during the test I like being able to remember specific sections in my notes.

After this first step, I will make flash cards by hand. This step is so important for me in learning the concepts or terminology for a test rather quickly. Flashcards are also very handy and can be practiced anywhere and at any time. Instead of pulling out my phone and scrolling through Instagram I can pull out my flashcards! I get tired of looking at a computer screen all day so I find that when it comes to preparing for a test I want to avoid the bright lights and focus on putting pen to paper.

After going through all my flashcards, I will show myself a concept or question and then write down on a blank piece of paper everything I can remember. This has really benefited me for my written exams. Being in a public relations degree most of my exams are written, which means I need to test myself in this way. Writing down all that I remember about one concept helps me know what I have already mastered and what I still need to learn. I can then focus on the concepts that require more time.

Next is a unique part of my test preparation method where I use the voice record app on my phone to help me learn and remember the required material. I know this does sound weird but trust me this works! Into the voice recorder, I recite the information that is on each of my flashcards. I wish I had started doing this in high school because it has helped me with many of my university exams. I can put on earbuds and listen to the recording multiple times which helps me visualize the concepts. I can listen to the recording on the bus, while I am doing the dishes or going for a walk.

From trial and error, I have come to realize that there are effective ways to prepare for tests that do not consist of only reading and highlighting a textbook for hours on end. Study sessions do not have to be boring or always the same but can truly reflect the individual’s way of learning.

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Modified: July 11th, 2018 July 11th, 2018
Published: July 11th, 2018

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