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

There are flashcards, study guides, crash courses, mnemonics, and no less than ten other types of study methods I have tried out. Each has its pros and cons, with some being more effective than others, and some being more applicable to specific subjects. Among the various methods that I have attempted, one has been reliably effective. The technique is discussing the lessons with a study partner.

Before discovering this method, I had always thought of "studying" and "cramming" as something that should be done alone at my desk. It took a single Starbucks session with my AP US History buddy for me to realize how reviewing the materials aloud helped me with memorization and comprehension. Prior to every study session, we would create an outline of the topics to be discussed. I would also jot down brief notes of each section, including points I want to bring up during the talk.

This method is useful for many reasons. Most noticeably, it has been beneficial because it refrained me from taking "phone breaks". I have an extremely short attention span, and I have never reviewed for an exam alone without checking my device every 10 minutes. Talking with a friend refrains from doing so. Certainly, the conversations are about schoolwork, but actively engaging in a discussion over coffee makes it bearable. Especially with an equally enthusiastic study partner, I can listen to their personal input and analysis of the assignment. It is not only intriguing but also presents a great learning experience. (Not to mention, checking my phone during a conversation is quite disrespectful.)

Giao from Iowa
High School Senior
Roosevelt High School