9th Grade Final Exam Preparation Techniques

For many students, the transition from middle school to high school means moving to a new school, meeting new friends and shifting to a new schedule. Some 9th graders may also find that high school demands more from them academically. Helping your teen to incorporate strong study skills as he or she enters the 9th grade can prepare him or her for success on final exams. Read on to learn more about what you can do to support your teen's performance on these cumulative tests.

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Helping 9th Graders Prepare For Final Exams

Final exams usually occur at the end of the spring semester and test students on material learned throughout the year. These exams may be longer than the tests your teen is used to taking and may feel daunting. A carefully considered approach to study and time management that addresses your teen's strengths and needs may help your son or daughter feel more prepared to take his or her final exams.

Plan A Study Approach

As your teen enters the 9th grade, it may be useful to consider a few questions. What study environment most suits her? Does she study more productively in her room, in a quiet corner at home or at a local library? Does she study with greater focus alone or with a study buddy? Answering these questions may help your teen create a realistic study plan that she can stick to throughout the year.

At this age, teens may be able to handle more autonomy than they could in middle school. This is a normal, healthy development and high schools encourage students to develop their time management skills. That being said, there is still a lot you can do to support your teen's success during final exam week. Consider getting him a daily planner to help him keep track of assignments, study periods and other commitments. It may also be useful to buy him a notebook for each school subject, so that he has a simple way to organize notes, assignments, exams and handouts from each class.

With your child, consider how she balances time for extra-curricular activities, social engagement and schoolwork. Does she get home early enough to study for exams? Do certain activities distract your teen from studying? Does she turn off her cell phone and refrain from checking e-mail while she's studying? Site blocking software, which allows users access to specific websites at given times, may be a useful tool to help your teen restrict e-mailing or social media activity to chosen periods throughout the day. Observing your teen's activity patterns well before final exam week can help her make study choices that will support her exam performance.

Organize Time For Study

With your teen present, help him create a semester-long study calendar that includes periods for homework and class review. Though it may seem time consuming to plan study sessions in advance, creating a study graph can help your teen learn to study in short, easy-to-manage time periods, which will be more productive than cramming the week before final exams. Once your teen has created a study calendar, suggest that he use a daily planner to chart assignments and study tasks each week as he completes them.

When your teen plans her study periods, make sure that she allows time for breaks. Concentrating for 45-55 minutes and then taking a break may increase your teen's capacity for recall more than studying for long stretches of time. Though your teen may want to spend break time surfing the Internet, suggest that she changes her physical environment during break periods.

If your teen doesn't mind, take a look at his study calendar to see if he has set realistic goals. Creating goals that one doesn't have the time or capacity to complete can make a study calendar a less potent tool. If a calendar reflects small tasks that a student can finish each night, it's more likely that he will feel a sense of satisfaction at the end of each study period. On this note, reward your teen for positive behavior. After sticking to the schedule for a week, remind him to take some time out to do a favorite activity.

Create a Study Method

There are several methods of preparation for a final exam; your teen might use a variety of methods, depending on the tests she will take. If your teen is studying for a history exam, for example, she might benefit from study sheets that review important events and dates. Studying for a math exam, on the other hand, may require completing extra practice problems. Help your teen define a clear study method for each subject.

Some students are visual learners, while others may be auditory or kinesthetic learners. If you aren't sure which one applies to your teen, consider having him or her take an online learning styles test. If he is an auditory learner, suggest that he try saying the essential content on his study notes aloud. Kinesthetic learners might benefit from walking around while reviewing study notes. Visual learners may improve recall by reading through class notes and organizing important information onto detailed, color-coded study notes or index cards. Trying various learning styles early in the semester may help your teen observe which methods most support his learning.

Planning a weekly study group for challenging school subjects may be another helpful way to study for a final exam. Working with others can shift your teen's perspective and may help her to see new information in a different way. Study group participants can share study sheets or assign responsibility to group members for leading weekly subject reviews.

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