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

I used to view studying for exams as just one more burdensome item to check off of my to-do list. I frequently procrastinated and suffered from test anxiety. However, over the years, my attitude and approach to test preparation has changed considerably.

After watching the news and reading countless stories of women who lack the freedom to attend school and must literally risk their lives to obtain an education, I began to understand how fortunate I truly am. I realized that stretching my mind and expanding my understanding of the world were actually opportunities to be grateful for. This perspective completely altered my approach to learning, fueled my motivation, and allowed me to genuinely appreciate my study sessions for the first time. I began to set aside specific time periods for test preparation and actually started to look forward to them. I set up a more peaceful study environment and began to avoid distractions by turning off my cell phone and listening to calming music.

When preparing for exams, I proactively identified problem areas when reviewing study guides and notes and left time to fully address them prior to testing. I quizzed myself and set up individual challenges to consistently improve my test scores. I developed mnemonic devices to memorize lists as well as reading about and beginning to utilize other unique memory tactics. I also stopped procrastinating after realizing it only caused my work and health to suffer in the long run.

My positive mindset, defined schedule, and deliberate study practices have made me more efficient and effective when preparing for and taking exams. This has opened up additional time for relaxing, participating in outside activities, and obtaining the quality sleep I need to perform my best. All of these changes have made me much happier and, in turn, have allowed me to be more productive when I do sit down to study.

Learning how to organize my time, structure my study environment, and utilize memory-boosting techniques has helped me in countless ways. But, above all else, my renewed enthusiasm for learning has allowed me to succeed while preparing for and taking exams. And, I believe this positive mindset will continue to benefit me for many years ahead.

Annika from Indiana
High School Senior
Zionsville Community High School