Whether studying for a weekly spelling test or the upcoming Standards of Learning (SOL) tests that are taking place in May and June, students benefit from guidance and encouragement from parents when they’re getting ready for an assessment. Here are 10 ways parents can help their children prepare for tests:
- Praise and encourage your child. Children test better when they feel good about themselves. Send her out the door with a note that says: “I know you will do well. You’re prepared.”
- Provide a quiet place for studying at home.
- Make a schedule. Set aside some study time each day for several days before the test. Don’t let your child get in the habit of “cramming” on the night before the test. “Cramming” right before a test increases anxiety and hinders clear thinking. Children learn and remember more if they study in multiple short sessions over time.
- Concentrate on problem areas. Have your child look through old work. Is there an area that gives her trouble? What types of questions does she usually seem to miss? She might ask the teacher to explain something again. She may also make flash cards for these problem areas.
- Access resources. Visit the school division’s website, vbschools.com, to access links to sample SOL test questions.
- Memorize facts more easily by making acronyms. Your teen can find a way to make up a word or abbreviation using the first letter of each word. For example, HOMES is an acronym for the Great Lakes (Huron, Ontario, Michigan, Erie, Superior).
- Look through flash cards or notes the night before the test. Help her make flash cards for these areas if needed. On the day of the test, she can be confident she is ready.
- Review important material just before bed. Does your child have a big test coming up? He should study for it during his regular homework and study time. In addition, encourage him to look over the most important information again just before bed the night before. He shouldn’t spend a long time reviewing—just 10 or 12 minutes should be enough. While he’s asleep, his brain will keep thinking about what he’s just reviewed. The next day, he’ll find the material is easier to remember for the test.
- Make sure your child gets enough sleep and eats a healthy breakfast before the test.
- Encourage your child to finish last. Some children are naturally competitive. They race during tests to see who can finish first. But this behavior often leads to careless mistakes and hurried, incomplete responses, and the student’s grades will reflect these errors. Remind your child that it is important to double-check his answers. He may be among the last to finish the test, but there is a good chance that his grades will improve greatly.
These tips are from the Office of Community Engagement’s daily Parent Connection Tips. Sign up to receive daily Parent Connection tips on a variety of topics of interest to parents by visiting the school division’s Parent Connection Daily Tips page. To view the upcoming SOL testing schedule, visit the school division’s website, vbschools.com.