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

For me, preparation for examinations consists of two parts. The first occurs when learning a new topic. As often as possible, I take an initial set of notes before the in-class lecture on the topic. This allows me to gain a preliminary understanding of the topic and pre-determine points that I need to be clarified by my instructors. Personally, I prefer to write my notes in a variety of colors with similar shades denoting relations between topics. For example, I might use dark blue when writing the definition of a word then use light blue to offer examples. Furthermore, for each unit, I designate a color to represent any important pieces of information, insights, or explanations that my teacher gives during their lecture. This allows me to note details that are guaranteed to appear in test questions, copy down mnemonic devices, or clarify a point I did not previously understand.
The second phase of my test preparation involves studying and practicing for the examination. Typically, I create sets of flashcards, which include any vocabulary terms from the unit as well as trivia-style questions. Additional methods of test preparation vary based on both the topic and the type of test for which I am preparing. For example, while preparing for final exams or AP tests, I tend to rely heavily on practice test problems; however, when studying for quizzes I prefer to simply review my notes. The sample questions allow me to become familiar with the testing platform and any time constraints. When preparing for a test that requires rote memorization, for example, vocabulary tests or quizzes on mathematical formulas, I use a whiteboard and copy down the term or equation multiple times. Over the years, I have determined that these test preparation practices work best for me as they encourage me to engage in my learning from the start of a new unit and remain involved through test day.

Kendra from Virginia
High School Senior
Tallwood High School