As your child grows, studying for tests becomes a far more autonomous activity. However, when they are young, many parents take on an active role when it comes time to studying. There are many ways to help your child prepare for a test in math, spelling, and geography. You can even develop a strategy based around their personal learning style. When it comes to science, however, children need a very hands-on approach that will prepare them for the future.
Develop a study plan
This might sound obvious, but before studying can begin, you need to know what will be covered on the test. Teachers typically go by unit or chapter in the class textbook, but it’s a good idea to encourage your child to find out about the format for the test, as that influences the way they prepare. By knowing what will be covered, you and your child will be able to create a study plan that divides the subject matter into digestible chunks over the days or weeks before the test.
Once you know what the test will be on, gather all relevant information, including readings from the textbook, handouts, notes, and previous homework. Always remember that it is more productive to study in short intervals rather than to complete continuous slogs every night. Have your child study in one hour intervals followed by a short break. You can split the time up with 45 minutes of test prep followed by 15 minutes of review.
Read the material
When it comes to studying the sciences, your child’s textbook will hold many of the answers to what will be covered on their test. They should have already read the appropriate chapters for the upcoming exam, but either way, have them read each section to refresh their knowledge of the subject. It’s good for them to make note of any graphics on the page that could help explain concepts visually.
Have them develop questions as they look through the reading. If they find themselves with a question, have them write it down. Any boldfaced headings in the text can also be turned into questions that will presumably be answered in the following section. Now they will be seeking the answers, instead of just skimming through pages of information they can’t possibly memorize. If they write down the answer to these questions, they’ll have a great way of keeping track of what they don’t already know while also compressing all the information into one easy study guide.
The importance of notetaking
Whether in class, while doing homework, or studying for a test, taking complete and concise notes can prove to be the difference between passing and failing on an exam. You can try to get them to read all you want, but there’s no guarantee they will internalize most of the information. Having them outline their reading assignments will not only help them remember what they read, but it will serve as an easy study guide down the road. They should already be taking notes from class, so pairing both sets should give them everything they need to prepare for the coming test. If your child learns best through reading and writing, the need to rewrite their notes will likely come naturally to them, but this method can be of use to anyone.
When it comes to taking notes, there is no singular way to go about it. The important thing is that the notetaker remembers the principal concepts of the lesson or reading and that their notes help to create an overview for studying later. Your child can do this by splitting their notebook into two sections, one with general notes about the section and the other with important vocabulary terms and keywords that can be revisited later in the form of flashcards and other study practices. This will help them get a better hold on general concepts as well as keep track of important terminology for later review.
As helpful as it is for reading and writing learners to take notes, visual learners might be better off creating mind maps and flowcharts with their notes. This method is especially helpful when it comes to the study of sciences because it will allow your child to link related concepts and visualize the different steps in a process. It’s important to remember, though, that this works best as a complement to traditional notetaking.
Find a practical usage
Scientific concepts are easier to understand if you can make them more relatable to practical daily life. Sometimes concepts can become too hypothetical, especially for younger learners, so it’s important to help your child see how these ideas play out in the real world, away from the classroom. Instead of simply studying information on a page, show them actualized applications of these concepts to help them have a better understanding of what they are actually studying. Show them the effects of gravity or how a plant undergoes photosynthesis. Whatever it is they are learning, find a way to add a hands-on approach to their studies.