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

I have studied classical ballet since the age of three. At a young age, I came to understand the tangible connection between hard work and concrete results. From combinations of movements at the barre, in the center and across the floor, dancers learn how to connect music to precise phrases of movement. Integrity is taught at an early stage; learning and remembering choreography is essential, as well as being vigorous in the taking of initiative. Dance inculcates dedication, and develops a high level of focus, time management, and attention to detail.

I have brought these teachings to studying for tests. I often begin studying with a short 10 minute meditation practice. I find this grounds me and clears my head from distractions I may have. Next, I make a cup of tea and I turn off my phone, or put it away from my studying area. It is far too easy to give in to the "dings", and also far too easy to make excuses on why it needs to be checked frequently for notifications. I like to set time blocks for myself ever hour to take a 10 minute break. When I am taking notes from a textbook, I exclusively write the notes by hand. This enforces the information I am reading is being processed and enforced through writing it. I like to draw images and diagrams for more complicated concepts, and if I come across topics or related concepts, I like to draw out how they are related to each other. For instance, when I am studying DNA and RNA in biology, I will create an ongoing Venn diagram to keep track of similarities and differences between them. When I am studying, I am sure to keep track of the concepts and questions I have a harder time grasping or completing. That way, I can ask or look up questions, and focus on these topics the next time I pick up where I leave off studying.
I often end my study session with a shower, which I find is a perfect time to go over what I just learned, and let everything sit. Lastly a reward for my work!

Sasha from New York
College Freshman
Columbia University- School of General Studies