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

One of the most efficient test taking practices that I used over my preliminary education years is known as the "memory dump". In high school, whenever it was time to take an assessment, whether it be a simple 10 question quiz, or a county test, my sympathetic nervous system would be put into use. As I saw students take out their pencils, and saw the scantron be passed out, my body would rapidly produce involuntary response to my stressful situation. A flash flood of hormones would increase my heart rate and make me start sweating. I always thought it was just a result of classical conditioning, but it wasn't until I saw a decrease in my average grades, that I realized what was going on. The brains hippocampus is responsible for the retention of information. When my sympathetic nervous system activated itself, the hormone cortisol would alert my hippocampus and over secrete itself. This would interfere with my brains capacity to encode memory and retrieve information. This explained why whenever the test was presented in front of me, my mind would "go blank". In order to stop this from happening, I practiced the strategy of a brain dump. This concept is fairly simple. Minutes before an assessment, simply take out a sheet of paper and write down anything you can remember about that certain topic. Whether is be a formula, a trick, or a definition, write everything that comes to your mind. Not only will this stimulate your parasympathetic nervous system, which is a system that allows your to slow your heart rate and calm down, but it makes the brains retention capacity more elastic. It allows an individual to remember the most important things just minutes before an exam so that when you are presented with the assessment, it is fresh on your mind!

Lynn from Georgia
High School Senior
North Gwinnett High School