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

Though I occasionally wing it, I have a few test-taking tricks I often use. One thing I have always struggled with is memorization, I could never get it down. Many people will recommend flashcards for everything, but I've found that there are different methods for different material. If you are trying to memorize terms, that is, a word and its definition, yes, use flashcards. I like to enter my flashcards into Quizlet and use the Match game to memorize terms. As great as they are, flashcards don't work for everything. For example, if you simply have information you need to know, flashcards don't really work. When I have a block of information I need to know, I always read it three times in a row, every day for about a week before the test/exam. The trick is in the second readthrough - it's backward. Yes. Read it once normally, then backward, then forward again. The first read introduces you to the material, the second read is slower and more deliberate so you pick up on details you missed, the third and FINAL read reaffirms the information in your brain. DO NOT read it more than three times in one sitting because it will become mundane, routine, and it will simply leak out of your head. It's ok to come back to it in a day and do it again, because your brain has had a break from this information. My third study habit is more general. Whenever I need to study for anything from quizzes to tests to final exams, I always use this method. First I WRITE DOWN any information I'm confident of and don't need to study. Then I begin to study the remaining information. Each time I gain a new piece of confident information, I write it all down again. This ensures that I keep the new material I'm gaining, without losing what I already had. Finally, I have a few tidbits of advice to give: always take breaks in studying, even if they are short; always go into the test/exam with a positive outlook, and NEVER take a test without any preparation unless it's a dare.

Albert from New York
High School Senior
Cardinal O'Hara High School