ANN K. DOLIN, M.E.d. AUG 2017
TEACHING TEENS TO STUDY CORRECTLY AND RETAIN INFORMATION
As report card time approaches, tests will be coming at students in many subjects and might be critical in their final grades. Studying should not be passive—it should be a full-contact sport. In order to really study, students need to get engaged in the material. The following tips will help your child properly prepare for upcoming tests:
Set the stage for success
Helping a younger child study for a test might be a piece of cake, but teens usually resist their well-meaning parents’ support. When you know a big test is coming up, approach your teen early on. Ask, “Can you show me how you’re going to study?” Remember, the end grade isn’t as important as the process. Knowing your child is putting forth effort is key.
Use the study guide as an aide only
If you are reviewing test material out loud with your teen, be sure that you don’t ask questions from the study guide verbatim. Often, students memorize only what is on the study guide without making connections to material. For example, in addition to asking for the definitions for mitosis and meiosis, also ask how they are the same and different.
Utilize mnemonic devices
Using mnemonic devices such as acronyms can help students improve their memory skills by connecting to-be-learned information to what the learner already knows. Once students are shown how to use this technique, they come up with all kinds of catchy acronyms to make retention easier.
Let your teen hold the cards
If your teen has flashcards that he needs to study, let him hold the cards and quiz you. Studies show that merely allowing the student to hold the cards and take on the role of the teacher increases time on task and retention of information.
Draw a picture
When using flashcards, add a picture. By simply drawing a picture next to the to-be-learned term, the student is creating a mental image in his mind’s eye, which triggers the definition.
Make a practice test
Long-term memory is enhanced when students take practice tests. Encourage your child to ask their teacher about the format of the test. Will it be comprised of essay questions, fill-in-the-blank, or multiple-choice? Having this information is critical for ascertaining the best plan for studying.
Practice makes permanent when studying for tests, especially when it’s done in advance. Once a deadline for a test is given by the teacher, your child should record it in his planner, along with the smaller study tasks leading up to the final date. Breaking a large task, such as studying, into smaller ones over a period of days increases memory retention and decreases stress. #
Ann K. Dolin, M.Ed., is the founder and president of Educational Connections, Inc. (ectutoring.com). Check out her award-winning book, Homework Made Simple: Tips, Tools, and Solutions for Stress-Free Homework (anndolin.com).