Tips for Helping Children Prepare for Tests

Taking a test can be very stressful for any student. Helping students prepare may help to reduce some of their anxiety. Here are some studying strategies and tips to help children cope with test anxiety.

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For most students, taking a test can be a stressful situation. If they receive a poor grade, students can easily become frustrated, especially when they feel like they've spent plenty of time preparing for the test. However, it is not the number of hours that a student puts in--it's the quality of the studying accomplished during those hours. If you'd like to help your student better prepare for a test, try developing studying strategies to make studying time more efficient and effective. Here are some ideas for developing a tailored study strategy.

Make Note Cards

When writing note cards, the student is actively reviewing the information. Preparing note cards at home allows students, especially those who participate in extracurricular activities, to prepare anywhere without having to carry a heavy notebook or textbook. Finally, as the student reviews their note cards, they can determine what material they have mastered and what material they need to further review.

When using note cards as a study technique, encourage your student to write a question or phrase on one side then write the corresponding answer or phrase on the other side. This format allows the student to quiz him or herself or have other students quiz him or her before the test. For visual learners, suggest using colored pens to color-coordinate related ideas or themes.

Use Practice Tests

Often, students become anxious during a test because the time they have to complete the test is limited. In order to help your student become comfortable when facing time pressure, try using practice tests. Some teachers will give students old tests or quizzes to use to study for an upcoming test. These materials are especially useful because they allow students to gain familiarity with the format of these tests. If the teacher doesn't provide an old test or quiz, your student could use a practice test in a textbook or the Internet.

The important part of this method is to time your student while he or she is working on the practice test. Timing your student allows him or her to get some idea of how long it will take to complete a test. With this practice, they can determine if they need to spend less time on difficult questions in order to leave enough time for completing the rest of the test. During this practice session, encourage your student to leave a few minutes at the end to check his or her answers.

Play Games

Some students find it monotonous to sit still at a desk and read over their notes. These students often don't use their studying time effectively because they become distracted by other things. For these students, turning studying into a game may help to keep their interest in what they're learning about.

One game to try is a jeopardy-style game. This game is easy to replicate with note cards or a white board. You could make note cards with the point value on one of the sides and the question on the other side. When a student chooses the card, he or she can flip it over to reveal the question and you can be prepared with the answer on another piece of paper. With a white board, you could write point values on the board and have both questions and answers on a sheet of paper. The student can erase the questions that he or she has already chosen.

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