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

You can’t avoid it. Or escape it.
And no, it’s not death, or taxes.
It’s studying. At one point, even geniuses have to review their notes. I’m pretty sure Einstein didn’t just breeze through his studies to get that Nobel Prize.

While us normal humans may lack the genius DNA, there are many test preparation practices that can hopefully help us attain somewhere near that level. Among many high school students, a popular studying method is procrastination. As a freshman, I WAS this student, but now that I’m a senior, I’ve learned that dedicating about an hour or two each day, for the days leading up to the test helped me greatly. Not only was I able to better retain the information, but I wasn’t studying at the very last minute. This boosted my confidence for the exam.

Whenever I take notes, I’ll always use colorful pens and highlighters. Since I am a visual learner, I frequently annotate, draw out diagrams or charts, and emphasize key vocabulary and information. It’s important to figure out what type of learner one is, because that should be the basis of one’s personalized study routine. For me, it feels more fun to study from notes that don’t look boring. So when the exam is coming up, I’ll compile all the relevant notes and review them.

Choosing the right environment is another important study method. My ideal environment is a good mix of self-studying and collaborative studying. When I’m by myself, I have a playlist of Studio Ghibli, lofi hip hop, or jazz in the background. This helps me concentrate and puts me in a productive mood. Meanwhile, when I’m in a study group, I'll lean more towards practice problems. Studying with other people can be a motivator; you all have the same goal, which is acing the test, and you help push each other to accomplish that. In both study sessions, I opt for short breaks about once every hour in order to prevent my brain from overloading on information. I’ll also study the morning of the test as a recap on the content.

Ivy from California
High School Senior
Oakland Charter High School