One of the most frequently-asked questions I get is “What’s the best way to study for tests?” There isn’t one guaranteed way, but there are study tips and techniques that almost always work in combination with dedication and determination. Encourage your child to try these out before their next test:
Cramming doesn’t work.
The “all-nighter” is a time-honored strategy for getting through tests, right? Wrong! The human brain just isn’t made for cramming. If you want to learn something, put in the time to practice and master it. Just ask any accomplished athlete or musician. Do you think they just show up?
Neither does multitasking.
Multitasking is a myth. It’s okay for everyday chores and activities, but for important tasks like studying, you simply cannot give 100% of your attention to more than one thing. It’s simple arithmetic.
Budget your time.
Only you know what kind of learner you are and what routines work best for you. When are you at your best: morning or nighttime? Take control of your time, your learning, and your grades by dedicating time each day to keeping up with your studies.
Work with a study buddy.
Learn from each other. Quiz each other. Emulate each other’s good habits. Remember, we retain what we firstlearn and what we last learn, so schedule plenty of short breaks.
Keep up with the reading.
News flash! You can’t keep up with class material, discussions, or progress if you’re not up-to-speed. Do the daily drills and practice. Read the daily assignments. Make a list of things you don’t understand so you can ask about them. Be involved. Be active. Be in control.
Anticipate the test questions.
It’s not difficult to know which questions teachers will put on tests. What do they stress during class? What major points keep cropping up? What are favorite and recurring themes? What skills do they stress? What are the book’s chapter headings? If you were the teacher, what would you put on the test?
Anticipate your answers.
Prepare some possible answers. Star athletes anticipate challenges, so do the same thing. Think ahead.
No matter what you’re working on in life, organization is guaranteed to help. Keep a planner with important test and assignment dates in it. Schedule study times alone and with study buddies. Keep notebooks and electronic material organized so you can easily find what you need. If organization isn’t your thing, ask for help from friends, parents, or teachers.
Take good class notes, and review them regularly.
Write or type the major themes and important information in class each day. Then, just like star reporters, interviewers, and writers do, review them as soon as possible to make sure you understand. If you don’t, ask follow-up questions at the next class.
Be determined that this time you’re going to be serious about improving your test grades. Take care of yourself by surrounding yourself with helpful friends. Get enough sleep, eat sensibly before tests, and use your common sense. Set yourself up for success, and you’re bound to do well!
Mark B. Kance, M.A.T. is the Executive Director at the Hamilton Township Sylvan Learning in Hamilton New Jersey. Sylvan Learning is the leading provider of tutoring to students of all ages, grades and skill levels with more than 30 years of experience and nearly 800 centers located throughout North America. Sylvan's trained and Sylvan-certified instructors provide personalized instruction in reading, writing, mathematics, study skills and test-prep for college entrance and state exams. Sylvan also hosts MomMinded.com, a blog offering tips and resources from moms and education experts. For more information, call 1-800-31-SUCCESS or visit www.SylvanLearning.com.