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

It's easy to think that test preparation has a simple linear cause-and-effect relationship with the time allotted for studying corresponding to the grade on the test. To some extent that is true, but if that were the case, I would have no time for anything. Over time, I have developed a strategy to take time out of preparing for a test while still giving the desired result.
For me, test preparation starts with good notes. In class, I pay careful attention to condensing the information in class into bite-sized pieces that I can refer back to quickly and easily before a test. Class time is often overlooked in favor of reviewing later, but I think this is the most crucial time to understand and absorb the information. By the time that I have finished taking notes, I am able to identify things that I understand well and things that confuse me which allows me to focus on the topics and concepts that matter most.
I like to put facts like dates on Quizlet, a virtual flashcard website, so I can actively recall information that I have no other option than to rote memorize. Then I like to take concepts and topics that confuse me and explain them bit by bit, as if I were teaching it to someone else, out loud. Sometimes I even get a friend who is also studying for the same test and go back and forth explaining topics. Last, I look over and explain the topics that I feel comfortable with to double-check that I understand them as is necessary for the test.
By focusing on the things that I don’t understand as well, I am able to reduce the time I waste by reviewing topics I already know. So by the time I need to take the test, I am ready all while I am able to have time for the things I truly enjoy.

Laura from Massachusetts
High School Senior
Newton North High School