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

My study method is best described as, intensely focused and unorthodox. While I do retain “regular” study habits- rereading notes, study guides, study groups, (occasionally cramming), etc.- I typically use a more individualized approach when it comes to studying. For more demanding tests, in particular- AP’s, standardized tests and finals- I go about studying in a, quite frankly, odd manner. Rather than studying at a desk or table, I actually study in my bed. For a long period of time, I remain practically unmoving, just reading and studying. One skill I developed is asking myself questions and connecting the material to other topics that I easily understand. This makes it so that what I am studying is actually being retained in a way that is more interesting and easy to understand, leading to better comprehension as a whole. Other approaches to studying are not as valuable if they lead to only temporary memorization, not learning.

The next part of my studying is what would be deemed unorthodox. I take a break. But rather than a snack or food or nap break- I take a dance break. I set a timer on my phone and shuffle through my 2000 plus songs, dancing to whatever plays. This is key to my studying method; it’s a way to keep me focused and re-energized for the next round of studying.

Studying often seems difficult because more time is dedicated to pseudo-memorization rather than learning. Memorizing can be a monotonous and dreary task. However, learning in an effective manner is something that can be interesting and fun!

Despite my unorthodox study habits, the results have proven my approach works, at least for me. Through high school I maintained an above 4.0 gpa, passed every AP test I took, enrolled in multiple AP and honors classes and I will be attending University of Southern California next year.

My advice to students looking for new study tips is to find a method that is individualized, interesting, and helps you learn rather than temporarily memorize.

Logan from California
High School Senior
Bonita High School