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

I was sitting in the front row of my AP Biology test, junior year, when the moment I had been nervous for arrived. I was the last person to receive my midterm exam when I saw it. A big red ‘D’ written on the front. I did not worry too much because I knew there would be a curve. I was disappointed, but hopeful, because I knew this was not the final grade that would show on my mid-year report card.

“The grade written in red is your curved grade, they’ll be put into Powerschool soon,” she said. My heart dropped. This is when I knew that the way I studied for exams in the past was not going to cut it.

If I am being honest, school has never been a struggle for me. I always understood the concepts of each subject, so I never felt a need to do in-depth study sessions. I did a quick refresher through my notes the night before, and that was it.

However, after receiving my AP Biology midterm, I started choosing new tactics. When a test was upcoming I spent a week preparing. I re-read chapters that were based off of the test material and began to color code my notes. For Math I would write practice questions in my notebook, retake old quizzes, and come into school early to meet with my teacher. I create my own quizlets, study them in the ‘Learn’ section, and then once I master that section I do the ‘Write’ section. In order to prepare for the test I also answer my fellow classmate’s questions, explaining to them the concepts, in order that everyone is prepared.

These methods work for me because I am a visual learner and I also learn through explanation. Drawing pictures or underlining key terms is a way for me to see the big ideas closely. Quizlet works for me because it feels like a fun game. When I master a card set I feel like I won, making learning more entertaining. Lastly, explaining the concepts I studied helps further encode the information into my brain. I not only get to help those around me, but I also can prove to myself that I truly understand the concept.

Candace from District of Columbia
High School Senior
St. John's College High School