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

Preparing for a test is very important! After struggling in middle school to come up with the grades I wanted I realized that part of the problem was my lack of preparation for tests. After trial and error, throughout high school, I have found the strategies that work best for me.

The first strategy that I follow comes well before you are ready to take a test, and it is merely to pay attention to what you are being taught. In the classroom, or in my case while I’m taking an online class or reading my textbook, you must discipline yourself not to drift off and become distracted. When you’re distracted you’re unable to retain what you’re being taught, no matter how much you think you can multi-task. When you apply yourself in class you are much more likely to remember what you are being taught.

My second strategy may seem simple, but it is extremely effective. This strategy consists of making flashcards or using free online resources, that have this option and then reviewing them. It is often stated that “practice makes perfect”, I beg to differ. I believe that practice makes permanent. If you go over the same thing, again and again, your brain will link things together and the repetition builds muscle memory. Just as athletes learn how to throw balls, swim laps, or jump over hurdles ‘perfectly’ you can remember almost anything you practice enough.

The third strategy I use is going over my material with other people. It always helps to have a second opinion of what is most important, and I have found that when I work with others I find myself somewhat teaching them what I know and this helps me to see what I need to study the most.

My final strategy is to give myself enough time to prepare for a test, more than a week, if possible, and take multiple breaks while studying. I can become very easily distracted and lose focus, so I try to work for 45 minutes and then take a 15-minute break to refresh my mind and stretch my legs a little. These are my strategies!

Sarah from Maryland
High School Senior
Churchville Christian School