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

My dad once told me, “Taking a test is like playing a game.” In any game, there are optimal strategies unique to every player that works best for them. For me, my pretest strategy is clear.

Around one or two months before Test Day, I take a free practice test online. In addition to giving me a good bearing of where I stand, the missed questions galvanize me into taking action. After setting up a weekly practice schedule, I pull up my laptop on a rickety sewing table, separate from my ordinary desk to minimize distractions. Personally, I use Khanacademy as it is free; however, I realized the disadvantages of working on platforms like it. When I miss the practice questions, it is difficult to interpret the explanation, while certain key concepts are missing. I usually end up Googling the concepts, leading me to various YouTube videos for clarification. Although time-consuming and tedious, I steadily recognize my mistakes and correct them, one by one.

As T-Day approaches, I ramp up my practices and sprinkle in hour-long videos like, “SAT Crash Course Algebra,” trying to fill in the cracks in my knowledge. However, my confidence quickly crumbles when I take a practice test two nights before T-Day. I realize there are swaths of knowledge I have yet to cover, and accounting for random errors, I probably won’t get the score I want. After frantically learning the new concepts from the questions I missed, I take one last practice test on the final day. The results are usually better than the day before but are not perfect. The purpose of taking practice tests right before is to get me in a test-taking mindset, preparing my endurance for the three-hour storm that is to come.

I believe I work well under pressure. When I am sitting on the hard-backed chair of the classroom, fluorescent lights glaring down from above, my brain switches to laser-focused mode. Just like a game, now that all the trial-and-error, strategizing, and adjusting is over, all I need to do is perform.

Hankyeol from Florida
High School Senior
Cape Coral High School