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

Austin James
Test Preparation
A test can be a stressful event for a student of any intelligence level. When such an event arises, it is best to prepare in the most efficient way specific to that person. Throughout my high school career and concurrent-enrollment classes, I have developed very efficient studying practices for myself. My hope in sharing this essay is that it will help others who may struggle with taking tests or those who struggle to stay calm during a test.
Sleep is very important. Throughout my biology classes I have learned about the effect of sleep on the hippocampus. The hippocampus is the part of the brain that stores long-term memory. When a person is asleep, the brain sorts through information taken in throughout the day; it sets aside information that is not needed, and consolidates more important information and sends it to the hippocampus where it becomes long-term memory. Important information could be events that triggered an adrenal response such as almost being hit by a car, or [happy] events that trigger a dopamine response, such as losing your first tooth. However, it is not a common experience for people to have a release of adrenaline while studying, and studying is certainly not exciting enough for most to have a release of dopamine. So how does one go about making the information taken in during a study session ‘important information’? Sugar is the answer.
Sugars are unique molecules, they come in many forms. But they all have one thing in common when it comes to affecting our brain chemistry: they release dopamine. I believe if one were to exclusively consume a specific form of sugar (such as mint gum) while studying, the chances of the brain considering the information ‘important’ would increase. This is where sugar and sleep combine to complete my test preparation technique. When studying is combined with dopamine from gum for example, and a good night's rest, It is my experience that I remember much more.

Austin James from Colorado
High School Senior
Sterling High School