Study and test-taking strategies for kids with learning difficulties
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Strategies for self-monitoring
For all students, an important part of studying is becoming aware of their most common mistakes, so they can try to avoid making the same errors on the next test. To help your child become more strategic while studying, you can:
- Ask him to look through his graded homework assignments and previous tests to find any patterns of mistakes.
- Help your child to make a personalized checklist of test-taking techniques to remember while taking the test, such as remembering to look back to make sure he didn't miss any questions or remembering to answer all parts of the questions. Checklists can be subject-specific as well. The following is a sample personalized checklist for a math test:
Math test checklist
a. Did I copy the problems correctly?
b. Did I remember to label my answers?
c. Did I use the right operation?
d. Did I check my answers to see if they make sense?
Making a study plan and sticking to it
The following suggestions may be helpful when your child is studying for tests in content areas such as history or science. Encourage your child to:
- Assemble all relevant materials before he begins, namely, textbooks, class notes, homework, and old quizzes.
- Make strategy cards for important concepts or terms by listing the term on the front of the card. On the back of the card, your child can list the key information and a memory strategy.
- Review class notes, homework, and quizzes, highlighting important information.
- Make a chart of the important events and note their causes and consequences.
- Predict possible essay questions and jot down notes for answering each question.
- Explain the main ideas of the chapter to a parent or friend.
- Have friend or parent quiz him.
- Make a timeline of important events in the chapter.
- Answer questions at the ends of the chapters.
Goal setting and self-pacing
Does your child rush through his study sessions? If so, you can teach your child to set goals and to pace himself. Here are some steps to take:
- Review his study plan and set a timer for a certain study period according to the plan.
- Make sure he builds short breaks into his study schedule. Shorter blocks of work time (e.g., 30-45 minutes) are often more productive than two-hour time blocks. For example, your child might try working for 30-45 minutes, then taking a 15-minute break, and resuming work again for 30-45 minutes.
- Discuss a goal for studying. What does he want to master and how well does he want to do on the homework or the test?
- Suggest that you will quiz him on the material when he thinks he is ready to make sure that he knows the information.
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