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

While very few people actually enjoy taking tests, there are a few ways to make studying for a test easier and even more fun. It is important to take time and avoid cramming at the last minute, study in a positive environment without distractions, and find the best way for you to retain the information. For me I have found 2 specific things that really help me to retain what I am studying. First, I like to copy the important information down. Highlighting is helpful, but I have found that when I physically copy it out on a 3x5 card or piece of paper, I absorb the information better. It combines visual memory and motor memory reinforcing it and encouraging it to stay in your long term memory bank. My second favorite way to remember things is to put the facts to music or rhyme. Just like that commercial ditty or catchy tune gets stuck inside your head, putting details to music helps it stay in your brain longer. In first grade my teacher taught us, “evaporation, condensation, precipitation, I got myself a fine education.” It’s a simple concept, but that ditty has stuck with me for life. In middle school I had to memorize the presidents in order and that was when there were a few less of them to remember even. Nearly 20 years later I still remember this rhyme I created. “Grover went to Cleveland to see Harrison in Cleveland. McKinley had a Teddy whose name was 3W who could see see a vacuum.” That helped remember the presidents in order: Grover Cleveland, William Harrison, Grover Cleveland, William McKinley, Theodore Roosevelt, William Taft, Woodrow Wilson, Warren Harding, Calvin Coolidge, Herbert Hoover. I didn’t come up with a rhyme for the other presidents and I can barely remember any of them. Combining the motor memory of writing facts down in my own hand and the fun catchiness of music and rhythm, I have advanced my study skills and information retention, and improved my test scores.

Katie from Washington
College Sophomore