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

Tests are stressful, whether they are AP exams or just an exam for a class. The best way to study for exams is to plan ahead carefully. The first step it to determine how far in advance you need to start studying. Typically for exams for a class, two weeks is enough time to cover everything with a little bit of room for review, or to make up for lost time if you happen to miss a day. For big exams, consider starting three weeks to one month before test day. Try not to plan to study for more than 1.5 hours per day because studying is inefficient when you’re tired.
Once you have identified the amount of time it will take, break the studying into tasks to complete by day. Once you’ve identified all of the tasks, write them on flashcards with dates to complete them and make them visible by hanging them on a wall or lay them on the floor. Also put all of the tasks in a planner or calendar.
Some of the most effective tasks are to read the textbook and take handwritten notes, work through old problems from in-class examples (with or without help from previous materials), studying flashcards. Understand why the subject works the way it does. Try to also incorporate reviews by overlapping material day to day, or by leaving a few days at the end to look over it. No matter what tasks you select, make sure they force you to actively think about the material. Passively reading does not force you to think about what you’re reading, and you will not retain the information as well.
The most important step in the entire plan is to stick to it! Do not think to yourself, “It’s only one day, I’ll do it tomorrow,” because you will likely skip more and once you’re too far behind, you are more likely to give up on the plan and end up cramming the night before the exam. The day before the exam, review the topics you struggled most with, but for one hour maximum, and do not study past six o’clock in the evening. Get a good night of good night of sleep and ace the exam on exam day!

Renee from Pennsylvania
College Sophomore
University of Pittsurgh