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

When preparing for tests, I convert the majority of hard-to-remember facts into interesting stories and visual cues in my brain. For example, if I am studying for a biology test relating to signal transduction pathways within a cell, I quickly picture each aspect of a pathway (including enzymes and protein kinases) as lively human characters involved in a drama. The nature and name of the character would relate to the nature of the particle in the signal transduction pathway. For example, a protein kinase would be a muscular man addicted to protein shakes, and unfortunately aligning with the "dumb jock" stereotype, would only be able to share messages from other people instead of generating his own original ideas and messages. This links closely to the role of protein kinases within cellular signaling pathways, and I can then develop additional information about protein kinases by picturing relationships between my buff character and other characters. I can thus effectively remember the functioning of a signal transduction pathway by recalling my story.

Envisioning a creative and life-like story about monotonous lists of facts helps me remember the facts significantly better. After all, us humans can recall interesting memories about people much better than we can recall the complicated ideas covered in higher level tests. With more efficient and accurate recall of facts, I have been able to perform very well on the majority of tests that require such recall. In addition to developing stories about the more complex tested knowledge, I also utilize simple, visual mnemonic cues to quickly remember certain facts. For example, when studying the constitutional amendments, I will memorize the 21st amendment (repealing the ban on alcohol) as a 21-year-old stepping into a bar for the first time to legally drink alcohol. Converting tested facts into stories and visual cues has elevated my test preparation by significantly improving recall during the test.

Celin from Nevada
High School Senior
Liberty High School