For students at any age, exam time can be overwhelming and intimidating. Elementary students are in the early stages of learning and are being exposed to their first scholastic tests. High school students are not only working towards graduation, they are also faced with the pressure of getting into college and qualifying for scholarships. With a wide range of subjects to focus on, it can be difficult for children to know how to prioritize their time, organize and study the material, and mentally prepare for examinations.
Preparing for exams can be difficult for students because in-class time is limited, and teachers have a classroom full of students to teach. It’s not easy for students to motivate themselves to study at home, or to know how much home study is needed to succeed in the classroom. Teachers also face the challenge of preparing students for exams and teaching them the skills they need to study and prepare for tests on their own.
The methods of preparing students for exams vary significantly based on their skills and age. Elementary school students, for example, require more of a “hand-holding” approach—especially in their first few years of school. High school students, however, have many years of exams and studying behind them—they should take on the responsibility of studying for themselves.
To help elementary school and high school students prepare for exams, Strategic Learning Clinic has compiled the following tips and tricks.
01. Different Methods for Different Learning Styles
Not all students learn the same way or at the same speed. It’s important to let your children know that there are many different ways of learning and studying, and that you will work with them to find the method that suits them best. Reviewing condensed notes of the subject matter is the most common way students study, but pre-tests, mini quizzes, and flashcards are also useful study tools.
02. Streamline Topics
Grouping topics and similar subject matter together can be an effective way to help your child learn broad concepts and develop relational skills to solve more complex problems. Streamlining topics can also help identify areas that need more study time or dedicated focus to help your child fully understand. For younger students, teachers usually provide a specific topic or an overview of the types of questions that will be included on the exam ahead of time. Exams in high school, on the other hand, are usually more broad and tend to cover a much larger scope of material.
03. Empower Your Child to Study
By encouraging your child to study and empowering them to ask questions when they are unsure, you are preparing them to approach their tests with knowledge and confidence. Children want their studies to be accessible and easy to learn. In a traditional classroom setting, teachers don’t always have time to explain material in depth. Home study or tutoring support can give students the time and resources they need to study and understand the material.
04. Use Practice Exams and Exercises
If your child is taking a standardized exam, try to locate practice exams or pre-tests. Practice tests are sometimes supplied as part of the curriculum, or they can be found online. Exercises and worksheets can also be a great way for students to prepare for exams. These questions may not be exactly what appears on the test, but they give the student an idea of what concepts will be covered, and where there are gaps in their knowledge or understanding.
05. Hire A Tutor/Specialist
Elementary school students are in the early stages of their learning and development, and often need additional time and support with their studies. In today’s modern families, it can be difficult for parents to dedicate the time needed to help their children learn and understand the concepts taught in the classroom. Professional tutors, like the experienced tutors at Strategic Learning Clinic, specialize in a variety of subjects including English, Math, Science, History, and French, as well as exam preparation.
Preparing High School Students For Exams
01. Create A Suitable Study Space
Since high school students are learning more advanced concepts and they need more time to study, it makes sense to set up a dedicated study area in the home. Having a quiet space that is free from distractions can make the studying process easier—and more effective. A desk in a bedroom or a corner of the basement can make for good study environment, but a quiet corner of a public library is also a good option.
02. Use Old Exams For Practice
Practice tests or old exams can be a great way to prepare for tests. It can help you understand how the exam may be structured, and also help you to pace yourself and set aside enough time to answer all of the questions in each section.
03. Use Charts And Diagrams
Everyone learns differently, but many students understand topics and concepts better with the help of visual aids like charts and diagrams. Revising and condensing study notes is easier when you summarize the major details and formulas into a visual format. To study larger topics or to prepare for a final exam, diagrams and charts made throughout the year can be used to study and revisit the material. Diagrams and “mind maps” are also a great way to memorize difficult material and relational ideas.
04. Make Sure To Take Breaks
Learning, studying, and memorizing concepts takes work—but your child isn’t going to score an “A” with an exhausted brain. Studying consistently for long periods of time can actually make it more difficult for the brain to absorb and retain information. Taking regular breaks every 90 minutes for at least 15 minutes gives the mind time to rest and recharge.
Students of all ages can benefit from a study routine. Habits learned in elementary school can help build the foundation for more complex study into junior high and high school. At Strategic Learning Clinic, our experienced tutors work with students to help them learn their subjects in detail and to study and prepare for exams. Our tutoring and learning programs are highly effective and help students learn efficiently without distractions. Contact us today for more information on our custom tutoring and educational plans.