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

The process of studying for a test is no easy task. It requires a large degree of motivation and commitment in order to complete. However, there is a common misconception that preparing for a test only begins a few days before the test is actually to be given. In reality, preparing for a test begins the moment that you first set eyes on the material. I always read the textbook on the unit that will be talked about in class, but I do so in an active learning style. For me, this means lots of color coding! For example, in my science and government classes, I have three highlighters: orange, yellow, and pink. Yellow is for general facts; orange is for examples that could be useful for essays, and pink is for definitions and important people. This method forces me to pay attention to the information I am reading and categorize it into three useful topics. Then, in class, I always handwrite my notes. Many of my friends take notes on their laptops, but they often include too much information. By handwriting my notes, I include only snippets of what is said, ensuring that I have the big ideas in my own words rather than the entire lecture in the teacher's words. When those stressful few days prior to the test arrive, I have already done the majority of the work I need to do, but when I got to study, I always want to ensure that I am never passively doing work. Instead, I am constantly looking for active ways to review information. For math, this means finding new practice problems to complete. Then, I will go back and write each of the steps that I took so I am ready for any similar problems. For other subjects, as I read through the information that I highlighted and color coded previously, I will make flashcards for information that needs to be memorized or facts that I am unsure that I will remember. When the morning of the test comes, I am confident that extensive preparation will ensure that I have done everything that I can to do my best on the assessment.

Zoe from Louisiana
High School Senior
Academy of the Sacred Heart