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

It’s test day. You’re sitting in front of that dreaded piece of paper, wishing that you hadn’t spent so much time looking up how dolphins communicate instead of studying for this test. Probably every student’s worst nightmare is knowing they could have prepared more or prepared better. I have certainly been in this position, and it was not until I took my psychology class that I finally understood what it meant to be good at studying. What I learned was that the word “studying” is not derived from “students dying,” because studying does not necessarily mean spending hours upon hours reading and re-reading the same mundane words from your insanely thick textbook. In fact, you can have a productive study session and have time to go to that volleyball game. My go-to study practice that allows me to feel confident and ready for the next big test is to make what I’m learning applicable to my life. Because what do we know better than our own lives? I’ve found that by applying what I’m learning to my life, I encode information easier and gain a better understanding of it in the process. For example, one of my favorite things to do while studying are flashcards, but instead of just memorizing terms and definitions, I try to tie them to my own experiences, which are more readily available in my memory. Trust me, you are never going to forget the meaning of “reciprocal determinism” when you tie it to that one incident with a chicken leg. Instead of trying to memorize words, I try to memorize meanings, and I find that once I know the true meaning, it’s easier to adapt and apply my knowledge in tests. I’ve narrowed this down to vocabulary, but the truth is, it doesn’t have to be limited by that! Perhaps you’re taking a test over the book you had to read over summer. Place yourself in the book, and think about how you would feel, act, and interact with the other characters. When I make my study personal, I learn more than just what you can find on a page in the textbook.

Ainsley from Colorado
High School Senior
Legend High School