In less than 2 months, we will reach that dreaded time of the year… semester final exams. As I prepare the material to tutor my sister, all of which, I have to relearn as it’s been a long time since high school, I want to make sure that I’m able to help her study as best as possible.
Having tutored her and many other students in the past fifteen years, I learned a few ‘tricks of the trade’ on how to help them study… all of which have been successful!
If you are also preparing to help your children study for their tests, here are a few ideas on how to do it well:
1. Make learning fun
Studying is usually not exciting for children, especially after they are overwhelmed from a whole day at school and if they feel nervous about the upcoming test. To make it less of a burden, get them learning while having fun. Playing games like bingo, interactive games, Jeopardy and so on can get their adrenaline pumping while they are studying and enjoying themselves. Cram.com has fun, educational games with flash cards which make for a great learning tool. Flash cards have been my go-to learning system since I was a kid (I swear by them!). You can find other fun test review game ideas on this useful Pinterest board.
2. Study the material yourself
In all likelihood, you haven’t really dealt with most of the school’s history, mathematics or science lessons, and terminology in a long time. When I was helping my sister with her biology homework, I realized quickly that my understanding of the subject was too limited to help her study. So, prior to every tutoring or study session, I took some time to read the chapters of her book on my own and look up anything I didn’t understand. This enabled me to explain the material to my sister in a way that she could conceptualize.
3. Pre-plan and schedule enough time
Studying last minute before a test is no good. You don’t want your kids to memorize the material and not remember it again. There’s also so much you can review when you only study a day before an exam. Instead, plan it out so that the studying begins at the very least 2 weeks before the test. I actually start the process a month before so we can take our time lesson by lesson, we can review what was learned, and we can go over problems and questions. It’s also less tense for you both and you will have a calm, patient child rather than one dealing with last-minute panic.
4. Give rewards and positive reinforcement
Children need to be consistently pushed with positive reinforcement. As you move forward with the lesson, make them feel like they are progressing. Give them compliments, acknowledge their improvement and show them just how much they have advanced since you started. Personally, I don’t like to promise material rewards for good grades, but it can actually be an effective incentive to get them inspired and excited about studying and doing well.
5. Watch out for frustration
While you provide the positive reinforcement, you also need to watch for signs of frustration, impatience or despair. No proper learning can happen while the child is upset during studying. If this happens, take a step back, analyze what is happening and give your child a break. Try to figure out a better or different way to explain the information that was causing the frustration. Sometimes you just need to sleep on it, as does the child.
What tips do you have for helping your children study? Share below – we would love to hear them!
**Unedited featured image courtesy of Sicha Pongjivanich at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.