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

When I entered high school, I entered with a collection of simple, almost thoughtless academic experiences under my belt. I never felt like I needed to study to succeed, and so I never did. My high school courses, however, required much more of me and challenged me to find those preparation practices that work best for me.

Over the years, I have learned that "cramming" has little, if not no effect on my ability to retain information. Practicing the skills I have learned and must demonstrate in a great many ways, whether explicitly shown in class or not, has proven most helpful. I will collect all of those homework problems and class discussion questions that I struggled with at first pass and reconsider them from the point of view of a student who has completed the entire unit in question. I will write out important theories or equations from memory, as many as will readily come to mind, without reference and check them for accuracy, allowing me to pinpoint those areas that require greater focus. I will retake past assessments (i.e. quizzes, vocabulary 'check-ins') for the same reason. And, when all of these resources have been depleted, I default to explaining the topics I must remember to others, whether those people be my parents, my siblings, or fellow students. It has always felt to me that if you are able to teach something, to put it into your own words, then you have truly retained the material that you hope to learn. You can receive feedback on your weakest points of explanation, and praise for fluency only serves to encourage your study.

These are the preparation practices that I have discovered throughout high school with the help of my teachers and by means of observation, looking at what helps my classmates achieve great things. I think that my dedication to finding these successful practices has made me a much better, much more disciplined student, and I am grateful for my opportunities to explore.

Erin from Rhode Island
High School Senior
South Kingstown HIgh School