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

I like to take a different approach to testing - focusing to actually learn, and not memorize. We have two learning modes - focused, and dispersed. When we're focused, we're intent on using certain nodes of the brain, whereas dispersed thinking bounces around all these nodes. The focused learning helps for memorization, while dispersed helps with creative problem solving and ideas - I like to jog or cook after doing a block of focused time without distractions (especially electronics) in order to activate this dispersed mode, allowing me to really think about and digest the topics I've learned. During focused mode, what I really like to do is skim the information before to gain a certain sense of structure of what I'm going to learn before filling in the blanks, and right after learning, recalling immediately what I've learned. Doing so in increasing increments is spaced repetition, a well-known learning strategy helps with long term memory storage. Most important is practice, applied skills, and there's a way to do this as well. Deliberate practice, which is doing the hardest problems first, helps immensely, and finding patterns in these problems and linking them to what I've learned is by far the most important thing about learning. Effective learning can be considered to be gaining knowledge, chunking it into patterns, and then applying it and gaining experience - kind of like the things that we'll learn in life. As a bonus, one of the most elegant methods of testing yourself is the feynman technique - writing all you know about a topic; if you can't explain a concept in simple terms you should re-learn that subject.

Wonho from California
High School Senior
Cupertino High School