2017 – 2018 Scholarship Entry – Test Preparation Essay
Test Preparation Inc. Scholarship
University of British Columbia
Many students would agree that studying for tests and writing multiple exams is both challenging and exhausting. We understand the importance of doing well on these tests. For some students, scoring high on one’s test means gaining entry into their dream university. Others need to score high on their test to receive a professional designation. Whatever the students’ circumstances are, adequately preparing and scoring well on these tests provides many opportunities for their future. Given the various test preparation methods, finding the right one for each individual student comes through trial and error. With only 24 hours a day to complete an array of tasks and responsibilities, students must utilize smart study methods to retain as much information as possible, so they do not have to dedicate an entire day to studying. Throughout all the midterms and final exams I have written throughout high school and my four years at UBC, I learned that spaced repetition is the best way to prepare for any test.
Spaced repetition is a preparation method where students review information over several days to better retain what they studied. When students introduce time intervals between the days they study, students remember more, even if they spend fewer hours studying. Whether it be learning a new physics equation, memorizing medical terminology, or learning a new language, spaced repetition involves repeating what you learned. Students retain course information significantly better than cramming the night before. As time passes by after students initially learn a concept, more information about that concept is forgotten unless students revisit the information. That is why many students remember very little after cramming last minute. I like to use the analogy of building a brick wall: If the bricks are stacked up too hastily without allowing the paste to harden, the top bricks will slowly topple, and we would not have a good wall. Spacing out our learning gives us that time for our “learning paste” to dry, and truly solidify the information we need to know for that test. Our brains require time to form connections about the new information we study before it is stored into our memory.
However, spaced repetition requires advanced planning; starting early is vital. Creating a study plan and reserving certain hours of the day to dedicate to studying is the first step to score well on that test. For example, if my test was on October 31st, I would start studying everyday for an hour and a half, two weeks before the test date, rather than cramming everything the night before. If you are accustomed to cramming the night before, this technique may seem odd at first, but it is a far better test preparation method that will increase your chances of scoring well on that test. As students study course information using spaced repetition, the information they retain starts to become large building blocks, rather than scattered parts with no foundation. Big pieces of information are thereby easier to conceptualize, and can draw upon principles with greater ease.