Test on Friday. The words strike fear into the heart of children (and some parents). Tests are not fun, but they are a tool used by teachers to verify your child is learning the material being taught in class. It’s unlikely we (parents) are going to end the practice of test taking, but we can help our children improve their study skills and get better test scores.
7 Ways to Help Your Child Get Better Test Scores
Get a good night’s sleep and eat breakfast.
Let’s start with an easy step. To do well on a test, children need rest and they need to eat breakfast. On the night before tests, get to bed early (don’t stay up playing video games, especially not in bed). Have a good breakfast in the morning before going to school. If your child is hungry when they are taking a test, they will likely be distracted and may make simple mistakes.
Don’t wait until the night before to study for the test
Waiting until the night before to study for the test results in high stress for the parent and the child. A better way to study is to review the material from class each day in the evening and allow the concepts being studied to build and flow. Study cramming sessions result in less long-term retention of the material.
Take good notes in class or as you read
Help your child learn how to take good notes. Taking notes is not just writing down any word, it’s writing down key concepts and understanding the importance of those concepts. Learning to take good notes means discerning the important information to know from the teacher and textbook.
Use flash cards
Flash cards are a great way to help remember important names and concepts. Write a key name or concept on one side of the card and write the definition or the importance of this person on the other side. Flash cards are easy to carry and can be practiced for a few minutes during wait times or during short study halls.
Read the text carefully
Many children don’t want to read their textbooks or they just skim over the reading in the books. Reading the textbook is a very important part of success in school. The textbooks provide a wealth of information and the information your child needs to study for tests and be successful.
If you purchase your own textbooks, teach your child to highlight or take note of the key concepts in the textbook as they read. They should also relate the concepts from their notes in class to the textbook to study ideas the teacher emphasized which may be important for tests.
If your child learns how to read their text well and highlight the correct (most important concepts to know), then studying becomes easier because all the key information is highlighted.
Understand the big picture
After your child has read the textbook and reviewed their notes, they should be able to understand the “big picture” for the subject being studied. If it’s history, they should be able to create a timeline of the events from the chapter or material on the test. They should know key dates and characters. If it’s science, your child should be able outline or diagram the terms and concepts from the chapter.
Understanding the big picture will help fill-in gaps when your child may not know a specific answer. If they can put a timeline together they may be able to figure out the answer during the test.
Memorize key terms, definitions, people and events
Memorization is still a very important part of education. I understand with a few keystrokes we can “Google” the answer for just about anything, but on a test your child will not have access to “Google”. The memorization of key terms, definitions, people and events help us to better understand the world around us as we encounter new events (we can relate it to events and knowledge from the past). Believe it or not, sometimes, the human mind can access and remember faster than Google can find an answer for us.
What are your favorite ways to help your child study? What study methods work best for your child?