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

A whole, fresh notebook. Three mechanical pencils with pristine erasers. A stack of new flashcards, practically begging to be used. I crack my knuckles as I settle into my comfy desk chair in my lounge sweats, ready to grind out a few hours of pure, unadulterated exam prep.
Woah! Hold on a second! You didn’t think that I was just going to dive right in without any direction whatsoever, did you? Of course not. If I did that, I would only be flailing around frantically in the vast ocean that is test preparation. And no matter how much studying I actually did, I would never feel fully prepared. Whether it is the SAT, a final, or even just a regular test in class, I always have a plan of action.
The first step to do this is to list down all the topics that are going to be tested. Then, divide these between the number of days you have before the test, leaving a day to breath right before the test. For longer tests (like the SAT or ACT or a final) I usually give myself several months of prep time. This way, I do a little bit everyday without getting overwhelmed. The biggest strategy that always works for me is to solve as many test questions as possible. After you are done reviewing the topics you want to for a particular day, solve some practice questions that pertain to those topics. Once you are a few weeks out from test day, start solving full length tests.
Closer to test day, taking a full length test one day and going over the answers the next day really works for me. Absorb what you did wrong and even solve some more questions that hit your weak points. If a full length test is too long, split it in half.
Through this whole process, write down the points that are really tough for you. Then, the day before the test, only go over these points. After that, just relax. No matter your study methods, the biggest tip I can recommend is to make a plan and solve as many practice tests as humanly possible and go over what you missed in detail. It always works for me.

Esha from Pennsylvania
High School Senior
North Allegheny Senior High School