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

We are not taught how to study or prepare for tests, instead, we specifically learn to pass them. But how exactly do we do that? We all have different methods of doing so based on our past mistakes and successes along with the advice we get from others. The most common tip I hear told is to not procrastinate. I never quite knew the step-by-step process to not procrastinate, which only made it more difficult for me to follow.

It always seemed that no matter how long or how hard I studied, when it was time to take an exam, I had forgotten most of the information. It wasn’t until this school year wherein my AP Psychology class I learned how to retain the information I was learning using the spacing effect. The spacing effect refers to learning new things in spread-out sessions rather than cramming everything all at once to enhance our memory.

I have found it best to practice the spacing effect in combination with the Pomodoro Technique. This technique is a time management method where one works in 25 minute intervals with breaks in between. I dedicate time to study for every subject every day, this way I do not overload myself with work the night before. With this, I ensure to stay completely focused on one task for 25 minutes, then give myself a 10-minute break. I repeat this with every subject until I am confident with the material.

These methods have helped me retain information much better. I began to notice that not only was I remembering the material during tests, but I would also remember it during class discussions and study sessions. I became more confident in my classes and when it was time for exams. So now when I am the one giving others advice, not only do I tell them to not procrastinate, but I am sure to mention my step-by-step process to confident test preparation and success.

Guadalupe from California
High School Senior
James Lick High School