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

こんにちは!My name is Kiersten and I have taken German, Japanese, Chinese, and Russian. Not only have I taken them, I have gotten high A's in every one of them- because of my unique study habits. For the sake of brevity, I am going to focus on Japanese specifically. I went from only knowing konnichiwa to winning a level two Japanese Competition in less than two years. How do you learn a 3 new alphabets? Repetition and weird stories. For example, I remember the katakana ス (su) because it looks like like someone running SUper fast with their arms extended behind them (it might sound silly, but it really helps with ideographic languages). I also use these tricks to memorize vocabulary words. The word for map is 地図 (chizu), which sounds like cheese, so I envision a map made of cheese. I use a whiteboard to practice writing characters and words, and try to say them aloud as much as possible to get them to fully embed them in my memory. One of the hardest parts of learning languages is the grammar. The way I practice this is by trying to think in my target language, which not only helps you practice, but also points out holes in your knowledge. When it comes time for a test, I do not aimlessly study (which is a common mistake). I try to predict what the test will be like and give myself practice questions. This allows me to practice all of my skills, and the more you do this, the more accurate you get. I also pretend to teach the material. This requires you to have a much deeper understanding of the material and shows you what you do not know. Lastly, I believe language learning (and learning in general) goes far beyond a test. It requires constant practice and effort, not a late-night cram session. If you focus on wanting to actually get to know the material, a good test score will come naturally.

Kiersten from Indiana
High School Senior
Indiana Academy For Science, Mathematics, and Humanities