SURVIVING MIDTERM MADNESS
Keeping your teen on an even keel through exams
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In January, many adults turn their thoughts to New Year’s resolutions, such as getting healthy, cleaning the basement, finding a new hobby and the like. But, if there is a teenager in the house, January takes on a whole new meaning and it isn’t pretty: midterm madness.
Midterms can account for as much as 25 percent of a student’s grade. That’s a big number! So the stakes are high and peak performance is imperative.
Even though many kids have half days during exam weeks, they may take two, two-hour tests during each session. Can you imagine taking the SATs three or four days in a row? Brutal!
So how do you keep your teen rested, focused and calm through the midterm exam period? (And, by the way, the same rules apply for finals!) Here are some tips observed after years of watching my own children not only survive but thrive in the midterm season.
Timing Is Everything
Make a plan that allows your teen to prepare for the exams over an extended period of time. Studying a little of each subject each day serves to reinforce the information and improve retention.
But if there is a procrastinator in the house, as so often is the case, let your teen embrace his or her lastminute self and budget the time to get to the finish line. Some kids do best closer to test time because they give the material their full attention. If that’s your kid, advise them to clear the decks of other work and batten down the hatches just before exam time.
Find The Study Space That Works Best
Teens may have set up a desk in their bedroom with everything necessary to prepare for tests, but it might not serve the purpose. If the child feels most comfortable (and focused) sprawled out on the bed, then let them do it. Or, if your son or daughter wants to squirrel him or herself away in the library to work undisturbed, then let them. Some students need white noise when studying and prepare best with a TV in the background. The perfect study space is the one that works best for the child.
Avoid Sleep Deprivation
Cramming for exams may seem like a good idea, but in the end, sleep deprivation decreases the potential for success. The American Academy of Pediatrics warns against sleep deprivation as it takes a child significant time to recover from lost sleep.
Before your teen sits down to study, make them inventory all of the texts, notes and other resources necessary to prepare. This makes study time focused and efficient. And remind them of seemingly obvious things like pencils and erasers and the ever-elusive charger for the calculator.
The perfect study space is the one that works best for the child.
Join A Study Group
Prepping with other students will help teens gauge the extent of their comprehension of the exam materials. Quizzing each other provides significant recall and confidence in the level of preparedness. When the student gets an answer wrong, the others in the group explain the subject, reinforcing a more concrete understanding of the material. In addition, you may hire a peer tutor or a private tutor to help your child.
Say It Loud, Say It Proud
Reciting test material may seem silly to some, but many students’ comprehension is reinforced when they say it out loud. This improves understanding and retention. And don’t laugh at this, but even setting the information to music makes it easier to recall. A student can sing their way to success.
Review, Review And Review Some More
Many teens find that while the review packets cover the exam material, it’s sometimes at a lower level. The questions – particularly with regard to mathematics – are considerably harder on the actual exam. Stress the importance of understanding and applying concepts – that is the true test of whether the student comprehends. Encourage them to search for more difficult problems to see if they can solve them. The Internet is loaded with sample questions to experiment with.
Leave Some Room For Fun
All work and no play…It is imperative that your child reserve some time for leisure activities – including physical exercise. This stimulates different parts of the brain and can enhance concentration.
PLAN IT OUT The stress of midterm exams can be manageable when students have a sound study plan.
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