Bright ideas from readers: Test-taking tips
GreatSchools parents share how they help their kids squash test stress.
By GreatSchools Staff
Do standardized tests, quizzes, and final exams turn your child into a sweaty, queasy ball of nerves? Skip the meltdowns with these test-taking tips from parents who have been there, dealt with that.
Study strategies that work
Cover the basics
"Children must have good study habits," says a parent of a high schooler. "Chapter review is always a good [technique]. Make sure to pay attention to the headings in bold. Good note taking is [key]….
"Bottom line, students need to grasp their core subjects at the elementary level so that they will be prepared for the next level of their education. Just this morning my daughter's teacher told me that he is seeing a lack of organizational skills and [that] his students do not know how to take effective notes."
"Set aside 30 minutes a day for homework — 15 for studies and 15 for reading together," says one mom. "Make it fun. Switch who gets to read so it's never the same. Use a timer. Allow 15 minutes of whatever they want to do after the first 15 of homework. Pay attention to signs of boredom or any other behavior that might signal [problems]. Put in some time now so it pays off for their future!"
A mother from Houston emphasizes the importance of staying on top of daily assignments: "First, make sure the child completes all their assigned homework. If parents also check homework, [they] will see if the child understands what they are doing and can review and explain the difficult parts in a way that best suits their child's learning ability. Review the chapters, class material, study sheets, and notes with the child a day or two (or more) before the test, depending on age level."
Play memory games
"For the [information] that just doesn't sink in, kids and parents can make up silly phrases or clues or jingles to help jog the memory," advises the same Houston mom. "Because they are silly, the child will remember it and will usually get it right."
Break information into chunks
"What I have found works for our 9-year-old is to break the information up into smaller sections," says a mom from Illinois. "Sometimes [kids] are so overwhelmed by the amount of content they need to learn, they don't feel capable of remembering any of it. By breaking the information up, one can feel successful when the information is retained — and be ready to move on to more content."
Practice with your child
"When my kids have a test for school or an after-school activity, I make sure to practice with them," says another parent. "The most important [thing] is telling them they're ready, and I've noticed that gives my kids confidence. Studying/practicing with them also makes it more enjoyable for my kids — they don't get bored or lose focus."