Does getting your kid to study feel like pulling teeth? Do you bite your tongue to stop yourself from admitting they’re right when they scream “It’s boring” and “I don’t want to do it!” Studying is simply no fun. But if they want to pass their tests and earn better grades you know they’re capable of, they have to do it.
If you have a child who has all the potential in the world but struggles with test taking, it probably has nothing to do with their intelligence. It might be that they never learned the right strategies for studying effectively. So here are six of the best studying tips for preparing your kid for the big test.
Six Studying Tips for Your Kid
1. Go Over Their Notes
This may seem self-explanatory but reviewing notes before beginning any assignment is extremely important. Have your child do a thorough re-read of all their notes to make sure they understand a concept before starting an assignment. If they are working on an essay, review the prompt together. Make sure they know how long the essay needs to be and what concepts need to be included. This prevents your child from making silly mistakes, like writing about the wrong chapters or forgetting the word count.
2. Plan a Study Schedule
When preparing for a test, you may think the main priority should be reviewing the concepts they struggle with the most. But if they focus too much on this, they might forget to review everything else. To avoid this, have your child draw out a study schedule. Make sure it gives them added time to focus on the most challenging concepts but still allows them time to review the rest of the material. Of our studying tips, this one ensures your child is prepared for everything and won’t be caught off guard by a test question about a concept they forgot.
If your kid has three and a half hours to review for a Spanish test, and they struggle the most with verb conjugation, here’s a plan they could use:
- Present Tense Verbs: 30 minutes
- Verb Conjugation: 50 minutes
- Singular and Plural Adjectives: 35 minutes
- Indefinite Articles: 20 minutes
- Pronouns: 30 minutes
- Re-review Verb Conjugation: 45 minutes
3. Create Essay Outlines
When writing a paper, it’s easy for your kid to feel confused about where to start. Having multiple concepts to cover and a high word count is daunting enough to make them avoid the task altogether. While you can’t write the essay for them, you can help them gather their ideas in an outline. Creating an outline helps organize the information essential to their essay and determine where it all needs to go. Break down the information into related groups and sort them into introductory, body, and conclusion paragraphs. Help them come up with strong topic sentences, recurring themes, and transitions to link all their ideas together. Now that you’ve given your kid some direction with these studying tips, all they need to do is piece it together with words. Try the program Scribbr to show your kid how to write the perfect outline.
4. Make Practice Tests
Before test day, make sure your kid is in the right headspace. To do this, have them craft weekly quizzes that’ll help them review the subjects they’ve been learning. Review your kids notes with them and help them identify the main concepts that are going to be on the test. Then write up a multiple choice test on the computer and have them practice taking it. You can also use websites like Complete Test Preparation to find sample tests for science, math and more.
5. Manage their Distractions
If your student devoted as much time to studying as to their phone, they’d be acing all their tests. Of course you understand how easy it is to get distracted by Instagram and TikTok, but it’s frustrating to see how much it’s impacting their grades. When they are constantly disrupting study time to check texts and apps, it feels like the only solution is taking away their phone altogether. However, preventing them from taking breaks or checking their phone is not the answer. Instead, create a reward system. For every hour and a half of studying they complete, reward them with a 10-minute break to do whatever they want. This’ll give them an incentive to buckle down and hit the books.
6. Get Help From the Teacher
It’s good to encourage your kid to ask questions during class. It ensures they’re getting the answers they need when they don’t understand a subject. However, it’s important to encourage them not to take too much of their teachers time in class. When they habitually ask long questions in class, they might be taking time away from others kids who also need help. It’s important to teach your kids to be considerate of other students and not monopolize their teachers ability to help all students. Instead, encourage them to talk to their teacher after class and determine times when they can get one-on-one help.
If your child’s teacher can tutor your kid, make time in your schedule to accompany your student. This shows your child that you and their teacher want them to succeed. Additionally, it allows you to get a firmer grasp on their learning style so you can better help them study at home.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Andy Earle is a researcher who studies parent-teen communication and adolescent risk behaviors. He is the co-founder of TalkingToTeens.com and host of the Talking to Teens podcast, a free weekly talk show for parents of teenagers.