Do you remember sitting in a classroom as the teacher passed out tests that were to be taken? The teacher would walk slowly; making sure all of the students had everything put away and off of their desks. They would put the test face down on your desk to make sure you didn’t get a glimpse at the questions before your fellow classmates did. They would then tell you to begin and sometimes your mind would draw blank. The memories alone are enough to make your palms sweat and your heart race!
Your student faces those same nerves, even though they are schooling in a different way than perhaps you did. Often times (especially in the teen years), preparing for a test happens the night before, leaving everyone in a panic, trying to cram and race the clock. Let’s try to break that habit and set your teen up for success by implementing the following guidelines:
Organize and Make a Plan
Unless it’s a pop quiz, teachers give advance notice on tests. Your teen should let you know as soon as they find out that a test is approaching. This allows you to ask vital questions that will determine how far in advance they need to begin studying. The more organized your student is in the days leading up to the exam, the better off everyone will be. Ask your teen to gather all of the information needed and begin studying sections at a time. This will allow them to avoid cramming for the test. While some think cramming is the way to go, your brain is actually unable to recall all of the information studied at such a rapid pace. Cramming can lead to unfavorable results.
Allow Study Breaks
As your teen is studying, make sure they take breaks so they don’t get frustrated, bored, or overwhelmed. It’s a good idea to take a 5 or 10 minute break every hour. Let them walk around a bit, use the bathroom, grab a snack to refuel. Anything that allows them to mentally and physically take a break is what they should be doing during these breaks.
Teens are always hungry – that seems to be a fact! Let them stay energized and ready to study with some healthy snacks. Avoid sugary drinks and unhealthy, carb loaded snacks that are bound to send them crashing shortly after indulging. Instead, have some healthy nuts, cheeses, fruits, and veggies on hand. That will give them a boost and keep them going!
Does your student have multiple exams on the same day? Time to divide and conquer. Start by jotting down the time and date of each upcoming test. Next, think about what subjects might require longer study periods and allow the appropriate amount of time. Does your student struggle in science but excel in language arts? Knowing this allows you to help your teen carve out more time to study for those harder subjects.
Mastering Exam Styles
Does your student get tricked by multiple choice questions? Do they take guesses because all of the answers seem to blur together? Does your teen struggle with written answers, where they need to provide supportive evidence with their answer? Walk through different exam styles with them and quiz them in various ways. If they toss an answer out to you, ask them why they answered that way. This questioning will prepare them for providing details in their answers, should the need arise.
Tackling the Difficult Areas
Every student has a subject or two they find harder than the others. Typically when a student struggles in a subject, they want to avoid it. Sit down with them and review important concepts and terms. If you identify where they are struggling, make some flashcards of the material. Sometimes learning something in a new way is just the thing our brain needs to let the information soak in. If they are really struggling, then it’s time to reach out for help.
Managing Test Anxiety
There is bound to be a certain level of anxiety when something is being graded and recorded for a grade. It’s just human nature. The tips above should help you and your teen manage their test taking anxiety and prepare in the best way possible. Before your child goes to take the test, remind them that you have confidence in them, that they know the material, and that they’ll do great. A little pep talk has never been known to hurt anybody!
We have confidence in your student and know that they can do great things at My Virtual Academy! Should they feel they are struggling or need any additional support, please let their teacher, mentor, or any of our staff know by giving us a call at 800-297-2119. We are here to help in any way we can! For more on topics like this, head over to our Facebook page and follow us today!!