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

Preparing for a test is a lot like driving my beaten 2005 Nissan sedan: it’s about looking ahead and making the most of what time is left.

The road that leads to academic success begins long before the weeks leading up to an exam. By paying attention in class, analyzing my professors’ explanations, and writing down questions, I maximize my initial understanding of the material, identify uncertainties, and reduce the amount of confusion I’ll face later. In doing so, I put myself in the best possible position prior to studying.

The 2 components of studying to consider are when and how. Starting early when possible lets me allocate shorter sessions across time, helping me stay focused, cover more material, and avoid burnout. Before studying, it’s a good idea to clear my workspace of distractions like my phone. The actual study process requires self-awareness. As an aspiring first-generation college student, I devised a 3 step strategy to earn the marks demanded by my dream school:

1)Outline the topics being tested/emphasized

2)Work through practice problems — application + repetition = retention

3)Identify and address weaknesses

As I prepared for my SAT senior year, I kept asking myself: Why did I get this question wrong? When I realized I tended to pick the most idealistic themes in reading comprehension, I began checking my choices for supporting in-text evidence. When I found trigonometry concepts that I couldn’t recall or had a shaky foundation in, I relearned them. I repeatedly pinpointed and overcame my weaknesses. In the end: I scored 1560.

For most people, identifying and addressing our deficiencies is the hardest part. That’s why resources like Mometrix can help. By offering comprehensive study guides, pointing out common testing traps/mistakes, and explaining vital concepts thoroughly, they combine conscious study strategies with quality content, my two keys to succeeding in college. And maybe one day, I'll graduate from driving cars to designing them.

Andy from New York
College Freshman
University of Michigan — College of Engineering