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

I once bit my lower lip until it bled while looking at the simple formula y = mx + b. This was the 1+1=2 of high school Algebra. “How do people remember all of this stuff?” ran through my mind as I was relieved to find out I didn’t fail my math test, while others complained about receiving a 92% instead of at least 93%.
Trying to help, people recommended YouTube videos about push ups before studying but they only left my shirts with yellow stains and grades that didn’t change. Though I felt I was destined for a life of disappointment with myself, I discovered that my brain was just like any other muscle in my body - it could be trained through habits and repetition.
I decided that every day at 4 pm was my study time. I would set an alarm on my watch and try to be at home, the library or in a quiet place. I would then practice disciplining myself to review practice problems over and over again for my math class. Soon I felt a rush of adrenaline at the end of each study session, proving to myself that I was able to focus and acquire the skills needed to improve my test scores. My reward was then a small packet of my favorite piece of candy, Sour Patch Kids.
Teaching our brains to create new habits is something anyone can do. As time went on, studying became less about the reward of Sour Patch Kids at the end of a study session and more about my desire to improve my grades. Now, the satisfaction comes from knowing that I’m getting close to my goals, not a sugar rush. The consistency of this method has helped me overcome many hurdles that could not otherwise be solved with a magic formula for success.
After my first semester as a high school freshman, I never scored below a 93% in my math classes. Y=MX+B became second nature and I now have the habits needed to tackle levels of math that I did not know existed. Our brains can help us achieve our goals or hinder us, it all depends on the habits and techniques we help it create.

Zeb from Utah
College Freshman
Brigham Young University