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

A test preparation strategy my biology teacher taught me that I found compelling was the concept of what he termed “spaced recapitulation”. The approach was rather simple and self-explanatory - after learning a new topic, it is to be reviewed again repeatedly after certain increasing time intervals. For example, after initially learning about the process of DNA replication, I knew that my test was in 14 days. I first reviewed the process the day after learning it, again after 2 days, again after 4 days, and once more after 6 days which marked the day before the test. It is important that the method of review is varied so as to maintain a high level of engagement. For example, one review could be using flash cards while another one is used to make a study guide. I was happy to find that I did well on the test and subsequent exams using this practice. I found this effective for many reasons. One was that the spacing of the review avoided the stress that comes with cramming a lot of information in a short amount of time; as time went on, I could keep increasing the amount of time between reviews, reducing the workload while maintaining the same high level of comprehension. This proved to be a good practice for finals and beyond as when the end of the class approached, the information from old units was still fresh. Not only is it beneficial for retaining information, it is a way to truly learn and take away lessons from the class into your own life. With each subsequent review, the knowledge gets further ingrained into one’s understanding, implementing itself into one’s perception as second-nature. I am grateful for the valuable lesson from my biology teacher. I hope I will continue to use this method not just to get an A in a class, but to enrich my own perspective with more knowledge retained.

Edward from Massachusetts
High School Senior
Wellesley High School