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

There's two things to think about when preparing for a test. First, you must learn the material. Second, you must be in a state of ideal performance.


To learn the material, my favorite strategy is to use an application called Anki ([https://apps.ankiweb.net/](https://apps.ankiweb.net/)). Normally when we remember something, we're able to remember it for twice as long as before. This was discovered in the 19th century by Hermann Ebbinghaus. The resulting strategy from this is called Spaced Repetition: make a flashcard (for example) for something, test yourself on it in one day. If you remember it the first day, test yourself on it in 2 days; if you don't remember it, start over. Continue for 4, 8, 16, 32 days, on roughly doubling interval. Anki is an app that takes Spaced Repetition to the next level. I have a thousand digital flashcards in Anki, and I spend only 2 minutes a day to review everything I've put into the app. The beautiful thing is that because we can remember things for longer and longer intervals, we don't have to review them as often—To remember a single card for 10 years should only take about 4 minutes of review over those years.
Anki can be used not just for facts, but for common mistakes you keep making in your practice, for practice problems you want to remember, and for really anything. It's what you make of it. Personally I use it to remember everything from what to do in emergencies to my takeaways from books.

Another strategy to learn material is to focus on recall-based practice. Do practice problems like the ones you'll face on your test, for example. Another such method is to challenge yourself to explain the entire concept on a sheet of paper as if you were teaching a 5-year old. I firmly believe that if you cannot explain something to someone else, you have not learned it. Teaching others—even pretending to teachers others—is a great strategy to learn. There have even been studies that have shown that stu

Christopher from New Jersey
High School Senior
Verona High School. Attending Carnegie Mellon in the fall.