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

Although I tend to be a procrastinator, waiting till the night before a test to start studying always ends in disaster. Now I block time in my schedule to study a little bit every night until test day. I like to study on my bed, but that makes it too easy for me to fall asleep! When I really need to focus, I sit on one of our uncomfortable dining room chairs instead. Sometimes, though, I just need to get out of the house and go somewhere else to study. Starbucks and Barnes & Noble are my favorite study spots, but only if I can borrow my father’s noise-cancelling headphones. I love to use them when I study; they not only block out all the distracting noises, but the sound quality is so much better than my earbuds. Generally, I listen to classical or instrumental music because songs with words are too distracting.

One of my favorite study habits is rewriting all my notes and things I need to study using pretty ink colors and stylized lettering. Because I am a visual learner, rewriting my notes makes them easier to read and reinforces what I have learned. Since I am an artist, using pretty colors and neat lettering just makes me happy and makes studying more fun. In addition, I like to use flashcards, timelines, flow charts, and other visual diagrams when appropriate. Flashcards are especially helpful as I can easily see which things I need to study more. Sometimes I write out my flashcards, but I also like to make them on Quizlet so I can study them anywhere.

For standardized tests like the ACT, SAT or AP, I take as many practice tests as I can. Then I analyze the types of questions I get wrong so I know where to focus my energy. Taking multiple tests also helps me figure out the pacing I need on test day and just makes me more comfortable with the whole process. Finally, getting a good night sleep before test day makes a big difference because I remember things better when I am well rested. My test prep routine helps me minimize stress and maximize success!

Emma from Pennsylvania
High School Senior
Wyomissing Area High School