Parents Can Help Students Prep for Exams




As students begin to prepare for final examinations parents can become an integral part of the preparation process. According to recent studies the best students are those whose parents see themselves as an important element in their student’s education. There is a high correlation between student achievement and parent involvement.( no matter how young or old your student might be)

Parents should encourage students to:

– adjust their work or social obligations to allow for extra study time.

– study by allowing them a reprieve from regular household duties.

– organize large amounts of material by outlining, charting or mapping.

– listen carefully for clues, given in class, regarding writing times, places requirements and study hints specific to examinations.

– summarize essential material on 3X5 index cards as a final review.

– ask questions in order to discover as much as possible about final examinations.
eg. Will examinations be multiple choice, short answer or essay format?

What aspects of the course are to be examined or stressed?

What do past exams look like? (This is particularly helpful for year end or pre-college exams courses.)

Often students need help in setting up and following a regular study schedule. The schedule is probably the most frustrating part of exam preparation. Once students actually find the time and begin a regular study program the actual studying is streamlined.

Provide a calendar, planning chart or mapping chart for students to keep track of:
– final assignments and test dates

– work and social commitments

– regular review times

– how busy your teenager really is

– when the study schedule must be adjusted

Several months before exam time:

– encourage students to take advantage of assistance offered through the
Guidance Department, the Resource Room and from their classroom

– help students set up a study schedule. Last minute studying is never as
productive as a long term study plan.

– guide students to learn from classroom mistakes. Few students look at their
graded papers or old exams and use them effectively. Students should be
encouraged to use their papers as a guide to help themselves improve for
final examinations.

– the analysis of previous mistakes on assignments and exams can reveal
patterns and types of questions that need more attention.

– every unanswered or uncorrected question is a lost learning opportunity.

– encourage students to take revised exams or assignments to teachers for
advice or answers to puzzling questions.

Throughout Exam week:

– encourage students to arrive on time, prepared with appropriate materials
and identifications.

– strongly encourage students to use all the available time allowed them.

– try to be familiar with the students exam schedule. Just having someone
else aware of when and what exam they write offers support when they have
so much to think about.

– if PANIC sets in because of procrastination, remain calm. HELP students
prioritize work in order to concentrate on what can be realistically
accomplished in the time available.

A recent research study done with students suggests that those students whose parents talked to them positively before they went to school did better academically than those who hadn’t started the day with positive reinforcement.

During the actual examination students should be encouraged to:

– identify and highlight key words in each question as students are often misled
because they have over looked ONE word that changes the direction of a
question. (see above visual)

– make notes directly on the examinations as this will help students focus and

– draw diagrams or maps to help interpret the questions.

– reword longer questions in an attempt to clarify what is being asked.

– use extreme caution when reading and interpreting questions. Misreading
questions is a common problem. Students often have studied efficiently but
because of misinterpretation they end up giving information that does not
answer the question being asked.

– approach multiple choice questions as reasoning tasks as well as
examination questions. Students should try to eliminate unreasonable
distractors for difficult questions. They can then try to work back from the
answers to the questions.

An Important Reminder for All Final and Transition ( ie to High School, College etc)     Examinations

Students should be aware that they are not only allowed but strongly advised to mark, highlight and make notes on the testing booklets. If they are not allowed to write on school examinations ( to save photo copying budgets)  parents can be very, very helpful by advocacy for the permission to write on examinations and highlight and doodle on all materials provided in the examination.

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