How to Help Teens Improve Their Test-Taking Skills
Does your intelligent, motivated homeschooled teen suffer from test-taking anxiety? Are you wondering how you can help your student prepare for a test without cramming the night away? Test-taking does not come naturally to most people, and many homeschooling teens are new to the test-taking game, and not sure how to prepare. Here are some tips for helping your students study smart and ace that test.
Don’t rely on rote memorization
It may be tempting to repeat names and dates over and over until you can recall them without thinking too hard. While this may give you some success in the short term, meaningless facts will not stick over the long term, especially if you’re anxious on test day. Instead, find ways to make the information relevant, meaningful, and familiar. If the material doesn’t make sense, no amount of studying will help you on the test.
Study different subjects at different times and in different rooms
Even if your teen has a course load full of different subjects that need to be tackled, encourage them to space out study sessions and give each subject their full, undivided attention. One helpful strategy is to study each subject in a different room. Your teen’s brain will make subtle associations between their environment and the material being learned, making it easier to remember the material with each study session.
Rely on several different learning styles
Your student can immerse themselves in the material by taking advantage of different methods of absorbing and retaining information. While reading, encourage your teen to summarize the information in notes that can be studied later. The simple act of writing will help them absorb what they are learning. After reading the coursework, your teen should discuss it, either with you (the parent), a sibling, or even a friend. Discussing what they’ve learned will help your teen sort through the information and process it more thoroughly. Another great study aid is recording their notes on a digital file to play back throughout the week. This will enable students to study while walking the dog, doing dishes, or in the back yard.
Now that your teen is prepared for the test, here are a few strategies for making the grade on exam day:
Arrive early – Preparation on test day will go a long way toward helping your teen feel confident. Encourage them to arrive at the test center early with all the material they need to succeed.
Be aware of time constraints – Most standardized tests are timed. Simple math will give your teen an idea of how much time is needed for each problem so they can better pace themselves. If a problem is taking too long, it’s better that they skip it and move on.
Start easy – Working through the easy problems first will build confidence and allow more time for the harder problems toward the end of the test.
Don’t second guess yourself – In most cases, your first answer is the correct one, and reevaluating and changing your answer over and over wastes valuable time.
The most important tip for acing an important test is to take a deep breath and do your best!