What Parents Can Do to Improve Grades
Instead of taking over, take these measures into action, bolstering your child’s test readiness and performance.
Okay, other than complaints and periodic fretting, what do you know about your child’s study habits as a pro essay writer, for example, once she’s up there in her room prepping for a test? Is it quiet up there? Are lots of daydreaming going on? Is she chattering away on the phone but telling you that she and her friend are studying? Or, is it possible that she’s not in her room at all but sitting beside you, letting you take over? Whatever the scenario, get some answers by asking . . .
- Do you ever hesitate to ask questions in class?
- Do you take good notes in class? How about from your textbook and other readings?
- Do you find out test dates in advance and review frequently?
- Do you find out the type of test being given–objective or essay–and does the type determine how you will study?
- Which is your favorite: true/false, matching, multiple-choice, fill in the blank, or essay?
- Do you usually study for tests at the last minute? If so, how come, and are you really satisfied with the results?
- Are flashcards standard? How about such mnemonic techniques as acronyms and sentence cues to help with memorizing?
- Do you ever study out loud for tests?
- Do you make up test questions for yourself and check your notes or text to check your answers?
Getting Down to Business
If you’re worried about disappointing grades, set some ground rules and be resolute. Start by reminding your child that prepping for a test is ongoing and that every class counts. Success comes from paying attention, taking good lecture/textbook notes, doing homework, keeping up with reading assignments, and asking questions. If that’s a problem, share this ancient Chinese proverb: “He who asks a question is a fool for five minutes; he who fails to ask is a fool forever.” Then insist on frequent reviews, using mnemonics, flashcards, recitation, and self-testing to promote memorization–all done solo. Quizzing sessions with friends–and/or you–come only at the end. Remind him, too, that objective tests are tests of recognition while essay tests demand a recall, and the type determines how to study. Test prep is anything but last minute.
More Steps to Take
Sure, studying must be done alone, but you can do more than just monitor and cheerlead. First of all, your approval is a strong motivator—far more effective than bribes–so appreciate the good effort and play up her strengths and talents. Be sure to also encourage wide reading for a broad knowledge base—not just books, but cereal boxes, recipes, and food labels, too. And talk frequently about topics under study, showing a sincere interest while discovering a thing or two along the way yourself. Periodic quizzing after review sessions is helpful, too. Everything you do can send the message that you value learning.
Then get personal. Appearance affects performance and attitude, so make dressing for success a priority—with clothes that fit, just not too tightly. For energy and thinking’s sake, insist on a nutritious breakfast every morning and stock up on healthy snacks like fruits, raw veggies, and low-fat yogurt. For a delicious cold-weather treat, make it soy milk hot cocoa—with a marshmallow, naturally. Meanwhile, remain positive about tests, teachers, and the work of schools; your attitude will rub off. Expecting her to do her best—not necessarily acing every test—will have an impact, too—and that, after all, is the whole point.