When your kids exit elementary school and enter their middle and high school years, it’s really important that they have the skills to study efficiently and effectively. This will allow them to gain more independence when it comes to studying and stops them from spinning their wheels and getting nowhere when studying for a big test.
Go over some of these study tips with your 5-12th grader and give them the power to use their time efficiently. Everyone will be happier and more productive once they get these pointers under their belts.
Carve out study time.
Block out a certain time slot each day that is dedicated to study time. Whether they need to finish homework, review daily lessons, or study for a test, that time is waiting for them. It helps to know how much time is needed each day by projecting the week ahead. On Sunday, sit down and take a look at what they plan to accomplish throughout the week. Do they plan to take a big test in history on Thursday? Time will need to be allowed to study for that test. Are they finishing up a science project? Make sure time is allocated to work on it. You get the idea. Knowing your teen has time allowed for each task will take some of the stress out of the week because they won’t be cramming or falling behind.
Use study time sensibly.
It’s hard to avoid distractions, especially when you are home and perhaps the TV is on, people are cooking in the kitchen, or someone is talking on the phone. Make sure your teen has somewhere that is relatively distraction-free to go and study. When there are no distractions, their mind can be focused on the task at hand (studying) and make the most out of their time. If your teen is doing their work on a device, such as a laptop computer, tell them to avoid having any unnecessary windows open. Keeping social media accounts unopened, gaming sites off, etc. will all help to keep them focused on their studies and not distracted by messages and posts.
The evenings go quick – we know! It’s hard to schedule study time that doesn’t conflict with other activities, but try your best. If your teen is too tired, they won’t be able to concentrate and really lock in what they are reviewing. When they are dosing off, encourage them to try a change of scenery. If they won’t be too distracted, have them sit outside on your patio in the fresh air. They need to make good use of their study block so they stay on track and sometimes a change of scenery or a quick 5-minute break will let them clear their head, refocus, and then get back at it.
Develop good note-taking skills.
When you have good notes, studying goes quicker because you don’t have to scour page-by-page for information. They will summarize what you need to know for your upcoming test. When you write notes, it increases the ability to recall that information. Teens can create their own note taking system because it should be one that works best for them. If they are taking notes, and have questions or need to revisit something, have them put an asterisk next to it or some other icon so they can come back to that area later.
When your brain has too much going on at once, it tends not to remember everything and it can also jumble up the information. These factors will reduce your recall ability because you will either be unable to recall the facts or could have them mixed up. Have them focus on one subject at a time and work on it until the daily tasks are completed. Then they can move on to the next subject.
Flashcards are a great way to prep for a test. They can even use their notes as a quick guide to making flashcards. All of the important information should have been pulled out onto their notes. By going through those and making flashcards, they are avoiding skimming every page in the textbook for important information. Flashcards are also an easy way to quiz them and see what areas they still need help on.
Teens tend to lack on the amount of sleep they need during the week. Less than 20% of teens say that they get the recommended 8+ hours of sleep each night. That means over 80% are functioning at a subpar level. Make sure your teen goes to bed at a reasonable time so they are refreshed and ready the next day. This, and a good breakfast, will set them up for a successful day.
What helps your teen the most when it comes to studying for an exam or finishing a big assignment? Leave a comment below and let us know. Others would love to hear what you have to say too!