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

I was never a good test taker. Although I may have studied diligently and thoroughly, because I never excelled at “the art of test taking”, I frequently did poorly on tests, especially ones of subjects I didn’t do well in anyway. However, I discovered multiple strategies that have improved my grades significantly, and accurately reflect my study habits. Contrary to what I previously thought, studying for long periods of time does not help you do better on a test or quiz. In fact, I found it does the exact opposite. You become so exhausted from studying, you forget the actual content which you are trying to learn.
In a similar sense, I noticed that even though studying a week or two before a test sounds like a good habit, it actually harms your future grade more than it helps it. When you start studying too soon, you forget the material you first learned when “test day” comes. I usually start studying three to four days before a test. Although this may seem procrastinating, I purposely do this because I know, from experience, I will do better when I start studying closer to the test day (this is not to be confused with actual procrastination, in which someone crams in all the information an hour before the test. This will also result in a bad grade).
Finally, I study with virtual flashcards, except I try to have a friend quiz me, as well. Doing this has helped me because when using flashcards by yourself, you might feel more confident because you can find out the answer to a question you don’t know whenever you want. Having someone else test you, however, forces you to think of the answer for longer. This, in turn, will help you retain the information you originally had a difficult time remembering.
Despite my past challenges with test-taking, through allotting myself an appropriate time to study and having someone else test my knowledge, I have improved my grades immensely. This had resulted in me becoming an overall better and more successful student.

Ava from New York
High School Senior
Notre Dame School