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Are your kids "bad test-takers"?
  • Calendar Apr 05, 2018
  • User Jared Wells
  • Category In Uncategorized
  • Comments 0 Comments
...or just not preparing for tests effectively? Certainly, test-taking is a skill, and like any skill, some people are more naturally suited for it than others. But, also like any other skill, hard work at improving your skill can more than make up for lack of natural ability. There are of course exceptions (learning differences, tests given without enough time, etc). One of the most common complaints we hear from students is "I'm not a good test-taker." In the vast majority of cases what this means is that the student is getting all homework completed, and is studying for a reasonably (or in some cases unreasonably!) long time, and yet is still performing poorly on tests. And a natural response to that is to think that you are the type of person who is going to struggle with tests. But hidden in this complaint is a key assumption: that the student understands the material, and the understanding is not translating to test-taking. The vast majority of the time we work with students who have proclaimed themselves "bad test-takers" what we find is that the students don't understand the material nearly as well as they believe they do. So what is going wrong? My experience is that students are not using their homework as a means to prepare for tests, rather as a hurdle to be overcome as quickly as possible, and that they are not studying effectively. I'll discuss these in more detail in future emails, but a key question to ask your son or daughter before a test is "How do you know you are prepared for this test?" Answers that show effective preparation and high level of understanding might sound like: "I did the practice test with no notes and got every question correct." "I went to see the teacher to review the problems I didn't understand from my homework, and re-worked them by myself" "I explained each of the slides from the chapter on my teacher's website to a classmate" Answers that might show either ineffective preparation or lack of self-awareness as to level of understanding might include: "I studied for two hours" "I completed all the homework assignments" "I read the chapter again" Remember, success is not just about spending a certain amount of time doing something. It's about doing the right things with the right mindset. What strategies does your son or daughter find effective in preparing for tests? What doesn't work? Looking to sharpen your student's test taking skills? Check our our "Study Skills" workshop this summer.

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