Smart students know that there is a difference between reading over the notes at lunchtime before a test, and actually studying. When it comes to major tests that have a big impact on their grade, successful students have a plan and a strategy for studying. If your child has a big exam coming up, encourage them to do some (or all) of the following things to ensure they are as prepared as possible for the big test.
- Have them create their own study guide: Some teachers will give students a pre printed study guide to give them a rough idea of what will be on the test, and the most important information that they’ll be tested on. Along with this guide, successful students create his or her own, based on what they know is important. Creating the study guide in itself is a form of studying, as it requires students to go back into the book, lessons and notes to find the information that they need. Then they can review both the teacher’s study guide and the one they created and increase their chances for comprehension and memorization
- Get started early: Most higher level math students know ahead of time when they will be tested on certain information. Encourage your child to use a calendar and list the dates of all of the major tests, along with the dates they plan to start studying for each one. Getting a head start means less cramming the night before, and more retention of information
- Study with people, or alone: Some people really benefit from working in a study group, while others find it distracting. If your child has benefited from working in a group before, help them set something up a few days before the big test so they can quiz each other, learn from each other, and even teach each other. If your child does better with quiet, individualized study time, provide a quiet time and space for them to focus in on their studying.
- Meet With The Teacher: Setting time aside to meet with their teacher is a great way for students to get clarification about any topics, vocabulary, methods or formulas that are still confusing. A week or so before the big test, ask your child if they have anything they want to run by the teacher before it is too late to ask questions. Meeting with the teacher may be a good way to get some insight about the test and what to study for.
- Stay Rested: Cramming for a big test the night before may sound productive, but there is a certain point when exhaustion takes over and your sleepy child won’t really be comprehending any new information anyway. Encourage them to study, take breaks, and then get a good night’s sleep. If they’ve set up a study schedule and have stuck to it, they won’t need to pull an all nighter the night before.
Big tests can mean big stress for students, but those who are organized and have a plan in place can feel confident that they’ve done everything they can do, and will be excited to “show their stuff” on the day of the test.