Take the guesswork out of exam prep

June 12, 2013 | Posted in: Middle Years

Middle schoolers may need help figuring out how to navigate final exams – particularly if they’re taking the tests for first time.

As a parent, you can encourage your child to get enough sleep and head to school with a healthy breakfast on exam day. You can also help your children develop good study habits that will serve them for years to come.

Share these tips with your child to get started:

Find out what the test is going to cover. Is it multiple choice? Essay? Both? Talk to the teacher to clarify any questions about information or format. It will reduce the stress you feel about taking the test if you know what you’re facing!

Gather all your notes and textbooks in one place. If your notes are out of order or in several places, take a few minutes to straighten them up so you can have a more organized approach to studying.

Put summary notes on flash cards and ask a family member – or a friend taking the same exam – to quiz you on the information. Flash cards are especially useful for items that need to be memorized, such as definitions or formulas.

Look at past tests. There’s a pretty good chance the material your teacher tested you on throughout the year will appear on the final exam. If you don’t receive a review packet or study notes from your teacher, past tests and quizzes are a good way to get an overview of important material covered.

Teach someone else. Ask a parent or family member to play student while you explain a concept. It will help cement the information in your mind – and help you formulate questions for the teacher if you don’t completely understand what you’re trying to explain.

Create your own study guide. Look over your notes from the semester and write out the most important information. Not only will writing help you remember it better, organizing the data into a study guide will help you absorb more of the information.

Don’t cram! Cramming is an ineffective way to study. According to a 2011 study conducted by Time.com, students who cram for tests and exams typically only pass the examination with an average score. In addition, the majority of the information gained through cramming sessions ends up being forgotten not just over a period of time but even during the actual test itself. Plus, cramming generally means staying up late, which leads us to …

Be sure to get enough sleep. Eight hours is ideal to ensure you have the energy and focus you’ll need to take an exam.

Remember to eat regular small meals to keep your blood sugar and energy levels steady. Have healthy snacks, such as almonds, fruit or yogurt. Make sure to take breaks and stretch while you’re studying.

Do your best! You’ve been learning the material all year long. Take a deep breath and count to 10 to calm your nerves.

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