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

Throughout my years in high school, I have tried about every studying hack in the book. From color coded flashcards to chewing gum while studying. Despite getting high grades on my tests, I was never satisfied with how little knowledge I was able to retain from my classes. In my sophomore year, I was introduced to mnemonic devices, a very common technique used when trying to memorize words or concepts. When I started taking AP classes, I used mnemonic devices for just about every new topic I learned. It was a lot more useful in my AP Environmental Science class than my AP Statistics class, however it did come in hand during the probability unit. The reason mnemonics work so well for me is they put an image in my brain rather than just memorizing the vague wording of complex concepts. I am a very visual learner. A great example of my use of mnemonics is in my Psychology class currently. As we learn the parts of the brain, I find it hard to delineate one part from another. After attempting to sit and reread every part and its function to no avail, I decided to look up some tutorials for developing mnemonics for brain parts. I came across many suggestions, and in combination with my own ideas, I am now able to identify every part of the brain, and its function, without hesitation or confusion. My success with mnemonic devices has also encouraged many of my classmates to give them a try. I've had several people come back to me, and explain their use of mnemonics, and gush about how much easier all the content seems. For all these reasons, mnemonics have been, by far, the absolute best technique for test preparation that I've ever found. Prior to my two AP tests, I sat down and brainstormed a list of mnemonics for the harder topics, and I earned a four and five on the two exams. I will continue to use this method for as long as I am in school, and I hope to continue introducing it to other students who haven't been exposed to it before.

Gabrielle from Maryland
High School Senior
Stephen Decatur High School