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

What works for me is to not try to cram too much information at one time. I break up the material in chunks and then spend time on each chunk. When I feel I have a really good concept or mastery of one chunk, I move on to the next. The smaller the chunks, the better so that they're easier to understand. I create these chunks by subject area, key word, level, author, or anything I can find that can relate.

Once they're broken up in chunks, I may try to break it down further if needed. For example, if I'm working on a math concept, I will break that concept down further by step or by process to make sure I really know that part. If I'm studying for a history exam, I like to create chunks by dates. That's helped me in the past, but there's other ways to break down history content. You can use people, countries, or other events. For me, dates work the best. If I'm studying for a reading or writing exam, I'll scan some literature from previous class assignments for words that I'm not too familiar with. That makes it easier to follow the story or any other passages on the exam. I used this technique prior to my SAT and I was able to improve from my previous score when I didn't do that.

And then just reviewing as many practice exams will help you so that you can know what to expect on the exam. It's a lot easier to know what will be asked of you than going into the exam without knowing. Most tests have practice exams online and I think that's part of preparation. It's really up to you to take the time to research the test before you take it to help put things at ease and believe in yourself. You know what you know and the more confident you are, the more likely you will do well on the exam and not second guess yourself.

Dominic from Arizona
High School Senior
Tucson High Magnet School