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

In the end, it’s all 50/50. True or False.

The secret to conquering multiple-choice tests is that, ultimately, it’s all about picking between the correct answer and the other likely candidate. Simply put, it’s 50/50. For example, I’m sure that anyone who took an exam before encountered a question similar to this:

Chicago is a
A. city;
B. continent;
C. town;
D. universe;

Familiar? I thought so because this is College Board’s favorite (although there is a twist because I can’t plagiarize the superior organization). You may realize that in terms of relative scale, “city” and “country” are somewhat similar and therefore may or may not be the potential answer; however, B and D are just...wrong. Here’s where I introduce the secret:


Cross. Those. Out.


Now, when I say cross out, I do not mean draw a light X beside the incorrect letter choices. What I mean is, cross out the entire line utterly and destructively. Make the pencil line so thick that you’ll struggle reading over those answers. Here’s why: if you leave those choices even faintly visible, your brain will try to deceive you. Your mind will try to justify an answer, worm a viable claim into the letter choice despite it being wrong, and oftentimes, you will bubble it in. Don’t do this. Blind yourself from the wrong choices completely and focus extensively on the remaining solid candidates.

Obviously, however, this is merely the first step. In order to tell the “city” apart from the “town”, you will have to practice an overwhelming amount. But relax; breathe deeply--inhale, exhale--and tell yourself:

Just today. Only today. Nothing more.

As contradicting as this may seem, practice in this mindset every single day. If you don’t, you’ll lie to yourself that you will work on it tomorrow, and you'll remain weak. It’s unbelievably difficult staying in this “today” mindset, but it’s definitely possible and the results are rewarding.

The mind is weak, but you are strong. There's no true/false to this.

Ryoh-Suke from Maryland
High School Senior
Winston Churchill High School