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

My first step in the test-prep process begins long before the actual test itself. Personally I do not have much belief in the concept of “cramming” for a test, and only feel comfortable with test prep if I have already built a strong foundational concept and topic understanding in the months or weeks prior. While keeping future tests in mind, I spend time taking notes or watching videos to deepen understanding.
In the time leading up to the test (can vary from a few days to several weeks depending on test intensity), my strategy shifts towards preparing for the test-taking process itself. I first attempt to glean as much information as possible on the test specifications, finding question types, test time, and sample problems. Next, I run through practice test problems while timing myself and simulating the testing environment. Using sites like Khan Academy and Mometrix allows me to find the best resources to access relevant practice problems while getting comfortable with pacing. After finishing a problem set, I stretch or do a couple of push-ups and sit-ups to keep blood pumping and maintain energy.
The last few days leading up to the test see me focusing on test vocabulary, mainly relying on Quizlet and other flash card mediums. Knowing vocabulary related to the test is key for both comprehending questions and formulating sufficient answers, and also helps refresh the foundational knowledge I had worked on previously. At this point, I slightly decrease my work intensity, making sure I don’t burn out for the actual exam. The day before, I aim to get 9-10 hours of rest and drink plenty of water while mentally preparing.
Test preparation can often be a daunting task, and I believe that study tools lose most of their potential when you begin to start “going through the motions” instead of optimizing time and resources. My strategy utilizes what I know about my own limits and strengths to make the most of test preparation, and can hopefully be useful to others.

Mordecai from California
High School Senior
Oxford Academy