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

As an International Baccalaureate Diploma recipient, I’ve had my fair share of tests that needed considerable preparation. Being in a handful of IB classes isn’t easy, and I often saw my motivation for long study sessions lacking. During my years in the IB program, I was able to develop a fun and adaptable test prep strategy that not only fit within my learning style, but also allowed me to effectively study for my rigorous course load.

The key to successful test preparation is dividing your information into levels. Think of it as a video game; start with the easy stuff, and memorize it. When you are able to successfully remember your info, progress to a harder level.

For me personally, I undertook this method by dividing my notes into four levels: “Big Ideas," “General Info," “Important Details," and “Fancy Additions.” From there, I would take each levels’ information and turn them into physical flashcards. (This fit my kinesthetic learning style. If yours is different, try color-coding, recording your notes, etc.)

From there, I’d pick up my “Big Ideas” card stack and go through them, as many times as I needed to memorize them. Once I had memorized the big ideas, I moved on to my “General Info” stack of cards. Then “Important Details” and finally the “Fancy Additions.”

Let’s say I was trying to remember a specific battle during WW1, my “Big Ideas” would be the battles name, year, and outcome. “General Info” would be the exact location/date, players’ names, fighting reasons, etc. The next two stacks would then get progressively more specific.

Having the information separated by specificity was extremely important in my learning process. It allowed me to have an “information security blanket” that I could always rely on during essays, tests, etc. It gave me the assurance and confidence that even if I didn’t remember any “important details” or “fancy additions,” I would remember my “Big Ideas” and my “General Information” as a backbone in my learning.

Jessica from Texas
College Sophomore
Austin Community College