When you think about when you learned how to prepare for tests, how old were you…..I was in high school. The curriculum is different for our children today; they must learn this skill in middle school. I use the word “learn” because is it’s not something that comes naturally to most children. When a teacher tells their students in middle school “don’t forget to study for your test,” many of them will not have a clue as to how they are supposed to accomplish this task and be successful at it. It’s up to us as parents to help our children with this very important skill which is crucial to being successful in their academic career. The best way to help your child prepare for tests is to give them the confidence they need before taking the test. Here are just a few suggestions which may help your child.
- Know your child’s strengths and weaknesses
Every child has both strengths and weakness; you must utilize their areas of strength to help in the areas that they are weak.
- Use additional material, not just the notes your child took in class
You cannot assume that your child’s notes are complete, accurate or understandable. Utilize google, text books, etc…..to make sure your child has a good grasp of concepts and definitions because many of the tests in middle school are based on inference and critical thinking; which many children struggle with because it’s too abstract for them.
- Have your child review the material a couple of times before you test them
Many children struggle with reading comprehension, so reading the material multiple times helps them process what they read.
- Ask your child to explain in their own words what they read to see if they understood the material
Once your child explains to you, then you can elaborate or fill in the blanks for them…your child may actually know or understand more than they realize; when this happens they are quite proud of themselves!!
- Have your child look up words or concepts on their own that they don’t understand
This promotes future independence so that someday they will research questions on their own.
- If the material on the test can be found in a text book, use the questions in the back of the section or chapter
Those questions can help your child work on their analytical processing skills.
- If your child is preparing for a spelling test, have them write out the words at least 3x each
Writing helps with memory; it also prepares them for how the test is usually given.
- If your child is preparing for a reading comprehension test, have them listen to the audio version if at all possible
Children who struggle in reading comprehension benefit from listening to stories repeatedly on tape; it helps them process W.H. questions.
- If your child took a chapter quiz, have them research whatever questions they missed
Most likely there will be a chapter test in the near future, this way they can use the quiz to help them study.
- Save all quizzes and notes to study for future chapter tests
- Work on test taking strategies to help your child cope with anxieties they may have
Many children suffer from anxiety during tests for a variety of reasons. If your child agonizes over questions that they don’t know the answer to, tell them to answer the ones that they know and go back to the ones they didn’t. Also, if a portion of the test is matching definitions, tell them to use process of elimination and once again answer the ones they do know so they see what definitions are left as possible answers for the remaining questions.