How to Help Teens to Test Well

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Maybe it's a weekly math quiz, a history final exam or a major college-entrance standardized test. The appearance of any of these on his school schedule can cause anxiety for your teenager, especially if he lacks effective study and test preparation skills. You probably can't teach your teen all the right answers for every test, but you can help him improve his approach to preparing for and taking whatever variety of test he faces during his years in high school and beyond.

Things You'll Need

  • Daily planner
  • Folders
  • Notebooks
  • Dedicated study space
  • Textbooks
  • Reference books
  • Practice tests
  • Help your teen develop effective note-taking and organizational skills, so she will be able to readily access the materials she needs to prepare for a basic high school test over information presented in class and assigned readings. Find the approach that works best for your child, such as writing homework assignments in a daily planner, keeping study materials for each class in a separate folder or working with her on periodic reviews of the material.

  • Establish a study routine with your teen. Depending on your child's needs, abilities and academic demands, this may mean requiring him to spend a certain amount of study time per subject each day, or teaching him to develop a schedule for major study efforts. For a history test next week, he might review three chapters each night, with an overall review on the eve of the test. He might break up preparation for a foreign language exam by focusing on vocabulary one evening, verb conjugation the next and other grammar concepts on a third night.

  • Ensure your teen has a dedicated study space, free of clutter and away from the routine distractions of family life, like the television, younger siblings or a puppy that wants to play. Help her set up her work space with the books, materials and supplies she needs to do daily homework, work on projects and study for tests.

  • Encourage your teen to practice actual test-taking. Teachers may give students a sample test as part of a study guide, or your teen may have access to online practice tests. As he takes more and more of these sample tests, he'll become more comfortable with their structure and the types of questions involved. He can also develop the time management and self-pacing skills he needs to successfully navigate and complete whatever type of exam he faces.

  • Help your teen to stick to a healthy diet and sleep schedule in the days leading up to the test. She is more likely to perform better if she is well rested and feeling good. Remind her to stay hydrated, take exercise and fresh air breaks if allowed and to keep focused: Worrying about that night's basketball game or what her best friends are wearing to the dance can prevent her from focusing and doing her best on the test. If she routinely worries about tests, even when she is well prepared, remind her of previous test successes and to just take a deep breath and relax as she starts her test.

References

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