Effective study tips can help children learn the skills and confidence they need in the classroom and beyond.
Kaleb Curry, student success manager at Cuyahoga County Public Library says there are several things that contribute to a student’s success when it comes to studying and preparing for a test.
“When looking for ways to help your child during testing, the first consideration should always be their mental state,” Curry says. “Testing can be a high stakes experience, so parents will want to work with their children on managing stress and focus. This can include calming techniques and systems for keeping themselves on track.”
A classic example to help with both is closing your eyes and taking three deep breaths to reorient. Students that have not considered or practiced these skills may find themselves overwhelmed by the very concept of the test, rather than the information tested within. Make sure the child understands the importance of what they are doing as well. A sense of purpose builds motivation, Curry adds.
“Parents can also consider the format of the test, he says.“Try and find ways to help your child become comfortable with the various formats they may take the test in.”
Create Consistent Habits
Carmela Cira, a math teacher at Beachwood High School says taking good notes in class, asking for clarification when they don’t understand something, doing homework on time and correcting it are simple things students can do to prepare for a test without doing extra studying.
To study, she says, it’s important to create good study habits and be consistent.
“Some students may have test anxiety and have a hard time keeping calm and confident when they receive the test,” she says. “Some students worry too much about what others in the room are doing like how much they’re writing or calculating or how quickly they’ve turned a test in. Some students may get stuck on a question, and rather than moving on, they spend too much time trying to figure that one question out, rather than moving on to questions they can answer.”
She says parents can be aware of upcoming tests and check in with their child on how their studying is going and hold them accountable. They can also help by quizzing their child or helping them find practice problems to work on. There are so many resources online to help students practice and parents can help them find a few.
“Make sure there is an emphasis on school,” Cira says. “So many students work, play sports, play instruments and are involved in a lot of activities, but students need to remember that they are students first. School and learning need to be a priority. Parents can keep an eye on grades and the amount of schoolwork that their children are doing and check in to make sure that their children are keeping up and getting any resources or help they may need, especially if something seems to be hindering their learning.”
Try to find fun ways to study that are more interactive, rather than simply sitting down and working through problems or reading notes, she adds. Other things parents can do are to use extrinsic rewards for studying and good grades, or reach out to teachers to ask them for tips or additional resources to help.
Alise Kulbago, a seventh-grade science teacher at Beachwood Middle School says paying attention to detail and preparing for day-to-day lessons and activities are also key.
Students who succeed continuously stay on top of the content and are prepared for the daily work.
“For me, what I’ve seen in my class, specifically with a student that does well, is one that has been doing the work, participating, and being involved in classroom discussions, rather than someone who tries to do a quick-review guide at the end of the unit, and attempts to pass a test,” Kulbago says.
What Motivates Your Child?
Annisha Jeffries, manager of the youth services department at Cleveland Public Library agrees that children can build effective study habits through practice and consistency.
“A set routine can help students build effective study habits; for example, setting aside an allotted time each day to do homework or study with breaks in between,” Jeffries says “I think all test-taking strategies can be beneficial depending on the type of learner. Everyone learns and reacts differently to tests, so what doesn’t work well for one person may work well for someone else.”
For example, some students are more visual learners and do better with hands-on experience while others do well with written examples. Some may find tools such as flashcards helpful while others may do better with mnemonics such as acronyms or poems or fun songs, she says.
When it comes to test taking for your kids, she offers these tips: Read each question carefully; if it is a timed test with multiple questions, complete all the questions first and then go back and double check your work and if you are struggling to answer a question, skip it and go on to the next question so you are not wasting time on a question you don’t know the answer to. If there is time at the end, you can go back and try to answer the ones you weren’t sure of.
Find a Learning Space at Home
Jeffries says another way parents can support their child’s learning at home is by creating a space that is dedicated to learning,
“For example, a space that has a desk and chair where students could comfortably do their work,” she says.” Sometimes adding extra colorful pieces of furniture or alternative seating such as bean bag chairs may make their learning space feel more inviting and less stress inducing. It may help to remove distractions from this learning zone such as phones and tablets unless they are actively being used in an educational manner or the students are taking a break. This space could also be a family learning zone; for example, a space where family members read together or work on math skills together. By learning and working together, education becomes a family affair, as opposed to a solitary event which can be uninviting to some.”
Also, parents will often receive communication from a child’s teachers. They can also take the initiative to find out what a student is learning about. Another push is when a teacher assigns homework, parents can encourage their children to do the homework.
“Habits don’t get created overnight; with a consistent emphasis of schooling outside of the classroom, even students who aren’t motivated will find it easier and easier to stay caught up in school and perform better on assessments,” Cira says. “Once students feel pride in their grades and feel stress relief, because they are not missing assignments, they tend to continue with those good habits and their grades and confidence will improve.”