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

“My brain just doesn’t work. It’s useless trying,” I tell myself as I fail another test. And to an extent, my brain didn’t work. I was diagnosed with epilepsy two years ago, and the seizures took an extreme toll on me. I was left with memory loss, and school became unbearable. It didn’t matter how much tutoring I got, I was just going to forget anyway. I knew if I ever wanted to pass I would have to ditch the notecard method. But through trial and error, I have found what triggers my memory.
While looking for new methods, I realized I am an extremely visual learner. I find that it’s very helpful for my notebooks to be extremely colorful and covered with pictures. This isn’t because I think it’s more aesthetically pleasing, but because I associate information with art. It might sound crazy, but for me, it somehow worked. Visualizing a long dirt road reminds me of the formula for distance. The definition of nostalgia is the swing set I drew by it.
However, in some situations association doesn’t always work. Sometimes, a subject, like environmental science, has a lot of layers to it, making it complicated. Because my memory jumbles information together, concept maps work best. Concept mapping works by taking the bigger picture and breaking it down little by little. By organizing notes this way I can spend more time focusing on individual details.
I use to think that I would never do well in school again. But, just because I have memory loss doesn’t mean I’m incapable of getting an A. While I do have to work harder than some students, it’s worth it.

Alexandra from California
High School Senior
Excelsior Charter Schools