Often time's parents are stumped when it comes to how they could help their child prepare for a test. No one likes taking tests, especially doing what it takes to prepare for a test, that's just a fact of nature, but tests are a necessary evil when trying to assess the progress of a students understanding of a subject. As an exam approaches, it could be a rather stressful time, for both students and their parents. Helping your child prepare for a test doesn't have to be hard work though, it could actually be fun!
In my tutoring experience, I've seen parents who've gotten really involved in helping their child prepare for a test and I've also seen parents get totally paralyzes because of not knowing what or how they could help their child prepare for a test. All parents, want their kids to do well and also to be recognized as a parent to a distinguished student. Across the entire country you'll find practically millions of cars with bumper stickers proclaiming that the drivers' child is on the honor roll and so forth. So it's no secret that parents are in the trenches with their child, giving their support, and trying everything they can to boost their child to the top of his/her class, even if it means taking a proactive role in helping their child prepare for a test.
So here we ask the question... what can a parent do to help their child prepare for a test?
The number 1 thing a parent can do to help their child prepare for a test is to encourage their child to ask as many questions as possible when they don't understand something. More times then I could remember, I've tutored children who were just plain out scared of asking questions. Even in school, the 80/20 rule applies. About 20% of the students ask 80% of the questions. It's isn't surprising to see that the students who ask the most relevant questions are the one's who have the most understanding on the topic. They're also the ones who have more tools to prepare for a test and who ultimately do better on tests.
This is true for a number of reasons which we won't get into details about in this post, we'll save that for another time, but I want you to think about it...
Doesn't it make sense that the more questions a student asks in class, the more engaged they are in the topic and the easier it is for them to prepare for a test?
Whenever you hear someone speaking about something you're paying close attention to, don't you naturally conjure up some questions? Isn't your brain highly engaged as you think about those questions and wait for the right time to ask them? Having the answers to all of your questions is key when trying to prepare for a test.
It's extremely important that students feel comfortable enough to ask, not only their teacher, but their parents questions whenever they don't understand something. So take the opportunity and open the door for communication with your child. Let them know that you're there to help them succeed on the test and that you're also there to help them find the answers to their questions. This strategy alone will do wonders to helping your child prepare for a test.
Another aspect parents should focus one when helping their child prepare for a test is having all of their child's homework assignments neatly organized for easy referencing. Teachers are programmed to assign homework that is extremely related to the test they'll be giving. That's also just the nature of the beast as they say. Teachers prepare their students by assigning relevant homework and it's through this preparation that they know when to give an exam. So keep your child's homework assignments easily accessible and neatly organized so they could refer back to them whenever they are reviewing for or trying to prepare for a test.
Review... Review... Review...
I couldn't say it enough. People always wonder how or when they'll know when they're ready for an exam. The answer I always tell them is, when you've reviewed everything enough times that it's very familiar to you. Get you're child into the habit of reviewing, taking notes of what they've reviewed, and checking off what they reviewed on a list. Advise them to review the topics continuously and to become extremely familiar with the topic in order to prepare for a test.
Being extremely familiar with a topic is beneficial in two ways:
1. When you're familiar with a topic you become extremely fast at answering questions related to the topic.
2. When you're familiar with a topic you because extremely comfortable when being asked about the topic.
Both of these two benefits are elemental when they prepare for a test.
How does this help your child prepare for a test? Well, on the day of the exam, most people are feeling nervous and on edge. When exam time finally comes around and your child looks through the test, they'll start to realize most of the questions on the exam are extremely familiar to them. When that happens, they'll calm down and gain the confidence they need to tackle these questions and they'll do so, efficiently and quickly, as they move through the exam. Helping your child build the confidence they need is another one of the greatest tools for them to prepare for a test.
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