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

Growing up, I never really had to prepare for tests all too much as I would be able to learn the material in class and breeze through the exams. This served as both a blessing and a curse as over time, I hadn’t been able to develop the proper test preparation skills needed for the rigors of the more important exams during my high school career. So, by the time I began AP testing and taking the PSAT, I was wildly unprepared. Thus, I began to research test preparation skills and I was able to tailor my own methods--however, it took time. I would implement new techniques each test and soon I was going to study groups and reviewing notes up until the wee hours of the morning--something I hadn’t ever done before high school.
Now that I’m a much more seasoned test-taker with years of experience under my belt, having gone through the more stressful crunch sessions than I can count, I can reflect upon the culmination of tricks I’ve subconsciously implemented into my study routine. For example, I always make sure to write down notes that I will understand. So, I will record information in my own words with definitions that make sense to me. Furthermore, physically writing or typing notes myself works wonders--what I mean is that copying and pasting is a no-go as I’ve learned that the information just won’t stick if I do so. Additionally, before a big test, I will write down the major topics and then list ALL of the information that I know about them without looking over my notes. Then, I would be able to see which topics I hadn’t felt too strongly about in order to determine my areas of focus for the study session. Then, I'd rinse and repeat as repetition truly helps. Overall, I believe that memorization used to be my secret key to succeeding on tests; but, of course, that is now a thing of the past. I found that all of those test preparation practices I've developed over the years have helped me not just to memorize, but to solidify my understanding of the content.

Mila from California
High School Senior
Samueli Academy