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

Personally, I have gone through my life without a lot of struggle during test taking. Sure, I would get stressed and antsy the minutes counting down the arrival of the test. But, when it came time to actually receive my results, I would most often breathe a sigh of relief upon seeing the scores that I had been so pressed about previously. That being said, one of the major mountains I had to cross in my high school career was A.P. Calculus B/C. Now, if you were to compare this mountain with the rest of them, it was certainly the Mount Kilimanjaro of high school academics for me. My methods of cramming the night before and hoping for the best most often failed me in these moments. It was from these class that I ultimately learned (the hard way) what it was to study effectively. For Calculus tests, I would begin by taking complete sets of notes in class. As the teacher lectured, I would merely write to record all of the content and tidbits of advice that he had to provide. I found that through this method of note taking, I would not typically retain much of the lesson; in fact, when he lost or confused me, I would often never catch up. Because of this, I began to supplement my learning with YouTube tutorials. Ultimately, taking the time to sit down and watch the entire length of a college lecture was what brought me success. I was able to add to my notes and utilize example problems to help transform my understanding of the material. I poured over these notes religiously, making sure that they were succinct. Although I obviously could not pose the same questions that I did in class, I found that the teachers on YouTube were truly passionate about their lessons, and made sure that the videos they posted were wonderful complements to in class learning. Being able to rewind the video and slow it down enabled me to acquire a more concrete understanding at my own pace. This is why I am a firm advocate of quality notes and passionate teachers!

Valerie from California
High School Senior
Sage Creek High School