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

My physics teacher once told me, "If you're trying to memorize the solutions, you're doing it wrong." This mantra has stuck with me ever since sophomore year. Instead of following the typical study methods of memorization and repetition, I try to understand the lessons being taught in big, interconnected concepts. By understanding why a bowling ball and a baseball will hit the ground at the same time, I save myself from having to memorize extra equations. Additionally, making sure I understand concepts in class or while I'm doing homework cuts down on time cramming the day before a test. Less time is spent memorizing facts, because I understand the logic behind those facts and can reason my way to them again.
Interestingly, this method of pursuing understanding instead of memorization benefits my friends around me as well. Before tests, I seek out friends who need help and tutor them. This solidifies my own understanding of the content, as I often have to find creative or alternate ways to explain tough concepts.
On my own, a key method that I ensure I have properly understood the lessons is asking myself why something is the case. If I can explain it to myself, then I know I have learned the concept properly and will be able to recall it during a test.
Using this method, I was able to break out of the cycle of memorizing, then forgetting, facts before tests. Through freshman year of high school, this often frustrated me as I began to feel that classes were pointless if I could not recall what I had learned even a few weeks later. Now, although I have not taken a physics class for nearly a year, I can still pick up a book and help one of my younger friends any time.

Renee from New Jersey
High School Senior
Renee Shen