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

Test prep is crucial to any student’s success and over the years, I’ve mastered my methods. In my junior year, when I had 5 AP exams to study for, I knew time management was key. To prepare, I started studying in January so I would have enough time for my AP exams in May. Every Saturday and Sunday, I would gather up all my test prep books, notes, and study materials in my backpack and walk to the library. It’s 8:00 am, and I’ve just arrived and found a nice table in the back to study. I always choose a place that’s not too noisy, but also has some people studying near me to force my head into that studying state. As odd as it sounds, I would always wear blue clothes when I’m studying because research shows that the color blue stimulates your brain.
As I open up my backpack, I throw out a mesmerizing, colorful arrangement of highlighters, markers, and pens to help me take notes. Especially for AP exams, I find that highlighting the most important information helps me retain it better and when I need to review the book before the exam, I can just skim through the book and reinforce main ideas and key information. One thing I found really useful was writing on sticky notes and putting them in the top of my prep books so they would stick about half an inch out from the top. For example, for AP Art History, for every art period and movement, I would write the artistic hallmarks of that era on sticky notes, and this helped me jump to any page I wanted to get a quick summary.
Taking occasional breaks and my lunch, I would stay in the library and switch my topics every two hours to make sure I didn’t get bored. It’s now 6:00 pm, and I’m packing up my things and leaving, ready for another day of studying.
Overall, these studying methods have helped me persevere in high school. They’re part of the reason why I am graduating as valedictorian of my high school this year, and I will continue to use and improve them as I pursue my biochemistry degree at Dartmouth this fall.

Justin from California
High School Senior
Herbert Hoover High School