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

My strategies for test preparation strategy follow three main themes: relevance, repetition and relaxation. The best thing about these themes is that they can applied to any test. Keeping these three themes in mind has resulted in academic success and lower stress levels throughout my high school years.

First and foremost, it is important to tailor your study methods to each specific test, and to be familiar with both the content and structure of that test. For instance, if you are taking a math test, it is important to actually apply the formulas in practice problems, instead of just re-reading information. When preparing for a multiple-choice test vs. an essay type test, the methods of study vary as well. Some examples which have worked for me include doing practice problems for math tests, filling out study guides for history tests, and taking timed-practice tests for standardized exams. Relevance is a simple thing, but it pays off immensely on an exam.

Repetition is essential in retaining and recalling information. Studies show that repetition works best when it includes some form of writing, such filling out review guides or making flashcards, which more actively engages the brain. To maximize the amount of times you review content, it is important to start studying early, and not wait until the night before the test. Trying to cram study last minute rarely ever works.

Finally, it is important to relax from time to time. I know too well that too much studying fries your brain, which will actually impair your performance on a test. It is therefore important to make time to do something else. Finding something you enjoy is key, such as a hobby. This helps reduce stress and recharge your brain, so that when you do return to studying, you are more efficient and can make the most of that time.

These three themes have served me well in high school. I hope they will continue to aid me throughout my academic career.

Arjun from Connecticut
High School Senior
Haddam-Killingworth High School