One of the biggest jumps from elementary school to middle school is the increase in regular testing. With regular testing comes students having to keep detailed notes, keep those notes organized, and study more often. Middle school can be exceedingly difficult for some students for this reason. It is a huge step up from Elementary school and the expectations that they have had for the past 6 years. Every parent wants to see their child succeed academically. Starting good study habits young can be greatly beneficial for students in their academic careers. These are some strategies that you can start implementing before a test that will help your child thrive in a testing environment.
One Month Prior to Test
- Studying is an active and ongoing process. Encourage your child to look over their notes daily. Studies show that the more exposure your brain must something, the more likely you are to remember it. Waiting until the last minute can likely cause anxiety in your child and there will not be any long-lasting knowledge retained.
- Help your child organize their notes from class by keeping them all together and in a neat order. Using a binder or notebook with tabs and sections will help them easily see where certain information should go and be stored.
One Week Prior to Test
- Reach out to your child’s teacher or have your child ask them questions like “What types of questions will be on the test?” and “What types of things should I be studying.” Using this information, you can create study guides, flashcards, Quizlets, and sample multiple choice questions to have a more concrete way of helping your child study.
- Studies show that using chunking to study helps people remember more information. Atlantic explains chunking as “a kind of cognitive compression mechanism wherein we parse information into chunks that are more memorable and easier to process than the seemingly random bits of which they’re composed.”
Day Before the Test
- Keep your afternoon and evening a relaxing one for your child. Have a quick study session but not for too long so that the brain can have a break and is not over exerted.
- Before bed, help your child prepare their materials for tomorrow so the morning is less stressful. Lay out clothes, pack bookbags and lunch boxes, and make sure an alarm is set.
- It is very important for your child to get a good night’s sleep the night before a test. A study from Ghent University said that “students who generally got a good night’s sleep performed better on exams.”
Day of Test
- Make sure your child eats a healthy and filling breakfast, so they are able to focus clearly. Prep Expert says that eating complex carbs (like fruits and veggies) as well as proteins (like whole grain cereal and oatmeal), will help keep your child sustained for longer.
- If possible, give your child gum to chew during their test. Studies have shown that chewing gum can increase alertness by as much as 10%!
Taking the right actions leading up to a test can make the biggest difference. From a month before to the morning of, these are multiple ways to ensure a smooth test taking experience.
Need some help getting your student to stay on top of their studies and be prepared for any test that comes their way?
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