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

“Tomorrow I’ll be dead, and my killer’s name will be ‘Physics.’” Okay, so maybe that’s a little dramatic, but that’s pre-test stress for you. As you prepare for an exam, it’s easy to have your mind clouded by fears of the end result. Here are a some tricks I use to better prepare myself for a test. First off, something I tend to do is minimize the importance of whatever test I’m taking during moments of panic: “I’ll fail it. I haven’t studied enough, the material makes no sense, I won’t get a good grade.” It’s moments like this where I’ll take a deep breath and present a counterpoint. “So what? I’ll do better on the next test.” This isn’t me deciding to blow the test off, I’m changing my perspective. By lowering the stakes, I calm my nerves and get better sleep, taking the test the next day in a more subdued manner. Had I went in convinced acing the test was crucial, I’d have taken forever to answer each question, and might not have finished. However, by having the attitude of “It’s just one test, they’ll be plenty of others down the road” I’m able to complete the exam confidently, as I wasn’t as stressed about my answers. Yet as a test day looms, I’m not only alleviating my qualms, I’m also coming up with some tunes. In most of my math and science exams, there’s a laundry list of formulas to memorize. Repeating them over and over again works fine, but I find it easier to commit equations to memory when they’re expressed as catchy jingles or chants. There’s a reason why marketers will include jingles at the end of their ads: they get stuck inside people's heads, making it harder for them to forget the product. By putting formulas in this format, I can play them back in my head on test day should I ever draw a blank. Additionally, if I can’t come up with anything good, there’s probably a better jingle online. Tests can be stressful, there’s no denying that. However, with an optimistic approach and a tune in your head, Physics might not be the death of you after all

Jacob from Texas
High School Senior
The Woodlands College Park