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

One of my biggest challenges throughout high school was learning how to study and what methods worked best for me. Most students flashcards, rereading or rewriting their notes as their preferred method. However, those methods never truly worked for me. Flashcards and rereading my notes only helped with short term memory, I was able to retain the information long enough to take the test but I wasn't learning. My mission was not to be able to regurgitate what I was told in class but instead to learn the material. Throughout the majority of my high school career, I used repetition and rewriting my notes as my go-to study method. It wasn't until senior year that I learned about methods supported by science. I was sitting in my AP Psychology class while my teacher lectured about learning and memory. He was going over the most common methods and how well they work. It wasn't surprising to me when he said that flashcards only worked for the short term. He told us that although repetition is one of the most convenient ways of learning it also fades the quickest. He then moved onto less common methods and the method of loci was introduced to me. The method of loci is when you use objects and symbols to represent a certain term then fit them into a familiar place to create a storyline. Humans tend to be creative creatures but we also like familiarity. When you create a story taking place somewhere you know well as your house, it's hard to forget. Although skeptical, I decided to try it for the next Psychology test. I used the objects and areas of my house to represent the terms I was trying to remember. To my surprise, that was one of the highest scores I had ever received on a Psychology test. Now, of course, the method of loci doesn't work for subjects such as math and science but for the memorization of terms, it works amazingly. I can't believe it took me three years to find a method that worked for me.

Rosa from Maryland
High School Senior
Western School of Technology and Environmental Science