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

Before high school, my mother enrolled me in a study skills session taught by one of the local high school teachers. The first day, he plopped a giant AP Psychology textbook on our desks and told us we would be having a quiz at the end of that week. He pointed out the chapter we were to outline and study; then he left us alone. The chapter fittingly focused on memory. I began taking notes as I had always been taught - organized into neat subject headers and main points underneath. After the third day, I had successfully outlined the entirety of the chapter. The remaining days I spent reviewing the notes - making flashcards of key words and rereading the main points. The day of the test I confidently looked at the paper, only to not recognize any of the questions nor the answers.

The paper was a list of jumbled letters and numbers in an incoherent manner. We were given 20 seconds to memorize the sequence then were tasked with recreating it on a separate sheet of paper. I got less than a quarter of the sequence correct.

It was then I realized that I never truly paid attention to the material of the textbook. I was too focused on searching for possible questions and answers to truly internalize and learn the content. From then forward, my test preparation technique consisted on learning the material not studying for the test. I used multiple different methods to do this. I employed flashcards, practice quizzes, and note-taking to learn the content. Then to make sure I understood it, I would attempt to teach the things that I had learned to my friends and my family. If I could successfully convey the information in layman's terms and answer any questions that arose, I could say I mastered the subject.

As a result, I performed well above my peers during the quizzes and tests. Even if I was unfamiliar with a question or was unsure of an answer, I could use the previously mastered content to reach a solution. If you truly mastered a subject, anything is possible.

Austen from Maryland
High School Senior
Howard High School