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

In my experience, the most important preparation for tests takes place the first time that the subject matter is introduced, whether it be through lectures or homework assignments. By giving 100 percent of my mental effort to the introduction of a topic and thoughtfully completing all practice questions that are available to me, I am able to soak up the information very effectively. Rather than viewing the homework or notes as requirements, I view them as the preparation for the tests themselves. This preliminary attention helps me greatly when it comes to recalling the information at a later time. When the test draws nearer and it does become time to study, I can already recall many details very quickly and accurately due to my previous meticulousness.
Granted, when it comes to the subjects that get bogged down in the details, it’s impossible to soak up all of the information the first time. This is when I turn to my most useful testing resource: flash cards. I start by writing a word, phrase, or topic on one side of each card, and on the back, I don’t just write definitions. Instead, I fully explain the concepts, draw pictures, and make connections to the real world. By the time I’ve finished making the cards, I already know the topics better than ever because of the in-depth detail I put into their creation! Then, once I have a set of all of the topics or words that are going to be on the test, I sort the cards into two piles; one contains the cards about which I can recall sufficient information while the other contains those that I cannot. I continue going through the piles, speaking aloud any information that I remember and then refreshing my memory once I can no longer remember more details. This process goes on and on until I feel confident with all of the material. When it comes to the small details, the tangible aspect of flipping and sorting cards is by far the most efficient way to study for a test.

Carter from Washington
High School Senior
Olympia High School