An organized preparation plan is vital for performing well on exam day. Go over these steps with your child, to help her feel confident and prepared for the test.
1. Outline a study plan.
Recommend that he highlight the material that the teacher deemed most important — for example, if the test is focusing on the characters in Tuck Everlasting, he should spend more time studying that area rather than, say, the setting of the story.
Helpful Hint: Divide information into digestible chunks, such as chapters for social studies, groups of 10 word problems at a time for math, 5 vocabulary words for language arts, etc.
2. Memory refreshers.
She can review the material that she learned first. Help her go back to the beginning of her notes or textbook, and review carefully. The next night, she can review the material from the night before, then move on to the next chapter, set of problems, or group of vocabulary words. This technique allows her to slowly build upon the foundation of the information, making it easier for her brain to process facts, formulas, and features that will appear on test day.
3. Recommend flash cards.
Not only do flash cards make quizzing himself easy, but the process of making the flash cards is also a valuable study session. It ensures that he will look at all of the test information at least one time. Plus, writing it down helps him visualize the material come test day. Make flash cards or use a pack of 3x5 index cards and decide how you want to test your knowledge. Here are some ideas to get your child started:
- Vocabulary word on the front side; definition on the back
- Name of math formula on the front; example of how to use the formula on the back
- Major historical event on the front; date it occurred on the back
- Name of character from book on the front; significance of character to the story on the back
Your child can carry the stack of flash cards around until test day -- any free moment is an opportunity to quiz himself.
4. Rewrite notes.
Your child can add details from the textbook to her notes — this guarantees that she'll be reading the text while writing down information in notes. This method can be used up until the final few days before the test. It will definitely help the material stick in her brain!
5. Partner up!
Even if he swears that he works best alone, encourage your child to try to study with a classmate for at least one session. Whether they're good friends or casual acquaintances, his peers can offer different perspectives and interpretations of the teacher's lessons. Plus, they'll have different notes that reflect those perspectives — they may have caught something your child missed, and vice versa. Peers may also study differently and can give tips on what works and what doesn't. By reviewing with classmates, you child will gather even more information, increasing the chances of doing better on the test.
Helpful Hint: Recommend that your child trade notebooks with a classmate and look for anything he missed in his own notes.
Your child shouldn't rush through this last phase of studying -- recommend that she study in stages, working on small stages during mini study sessions. She can divide the test material into three categories: stuff she's confident about, stuff she thinks needs more review, and stuff that she's not comfortable with going into the test. She should work on the "not comfortable" stuff first, until she has a better grasp on the material. Move onto stuff she knows but could know better, until it's in the "confident" category. Finally, she can review the stuff she's sure she knows, to confirm that the material is set.
7. Hold a rapid-fire study session with a friend.
Your child can bounce questions around with friends or family -- have him focus on areas that are giving him trouble, but also review material he knows well.
Helpful Hint: Saying answers aloud while studying helps, because it uses another sense — hearing — to build a concrete memory of the answer.
8. Glance over notes one final time.
Right before exam day, he can quiz himself with notes or a last round of flash cards.