Whether your kids are studying for final exams or it’s time to start prepping for the standardized tests that will help them gain admission to their colleges and universities of choice (or even net them scholarships), you may need to make yourself available to offer assistance as needed.
It’s not so much that your kids can’t study on their own; it’s that many children won’t, or at least they won’t do so as diligently and thoroughly without your presence and participation. And since you’d instead send them off to an institution of higher learning than watch them spend the next ten years living in your basement while they party and hold a minimum-wage job, it’s incumbent upon you to give them a push. So here are just a few tips to ensure that your kids spend sufficient time studying for exams so they can ultimately ace them.
Before your kids ever sit down to study you should start the process by preparing them for optimum retention. While you’ll almost certainly want to set aside some time for study each night, it is imperative that you schedule in downtime, as well. You can’t expect your kids to hit the books the moment they get home from school. They’re mammals, not machines. So make sure they take at least a short break (30 minutes to an hour, for example) to unwind and give the old noggin a chance to rest and reboot. Forcing them to continue performing without a break will only lead to sloppy work and less retention. And don’t forget to give them healthy and filling snacks that will sustain their energy and boost their brain power. In other words, skip the sugar and caffeine; they only lead to crashes.
From there you’ll want to carry out structured study sessions. For average school exams, this could entail using class notes, assigned reading, and prior quizzes to create flashcards. But if your kids are studying for the SAT, PSAT, ACT, or other exams, it’s probably a good idea to purchase the appropriate study guides and sample tests to practice. You can help your kids by going through the material section by section, administering practice tests, and then helping them to understand where they made mistakes and why. They may have trouble with certain portions of the tests, and this will give you a good idea of what you need to work to improve.
Of course, you might reach a point where you are no longer able to contribute to the process or offer valuable assistance, perhaps because you’re at the limit of your knowledge or because you can’t seem to present concepts in a way that your kids understand. In either case, you may want to consider hiring a tutor to help the struggling students in your household. For common study purposes, you can use an in-home tutor (older students and teachers are usually a good bet), or you can sign up with an online service. But for standardized test prep, you should opt for a company that specifically caters to students studying for SATs and other exams. The Princeton Review is one possible option.
Once your kids get through high school, pass their standardized exams with flying colors, and get into their school of choice, it’s only a hop, skip, and jump to an online MBA program or a stint at Harvard Medical School (keep your fingers crossed). But in the meantime, you need to do whatever you can to help your children study so that they have every opportunity to succeed. And with a targeted strategy, your kids can make the most of the time they spend prepping for exams.