Needing to study for exams and tests can get extremely stressful and tiresome for your child. We are all well aware that for children, studying feels like it takes a lifetime. That is why it is discouraging for them when they get to the exam or test, they have prepared for, and all the information that they learnt has been forgotten. This happens when the brain has failed to create an effective connection that is necessary to retain the information being learnt.
Help improve the way your child studies by implementing some of these 8 studying techniques.
1. Use visual representations
Associating the information that is being learned with some kind of imagery helps memory retention. It may even be a good idea to use images that are exaggerated or a little absurd as the enhanced features are what will be better remembered.
A great visual way of learning is the use of mnemonics. Here is a link that will give you the different types of mnemonics that are functional for studying: https://www.learningassistance.com/2006/january/mnemonics.html. These make studying a little silly and at least a lot more fun and enjoyable.
2. Connect the information with something that your child already knows and understands.
Look at the concept that is being studied and see if you are able to create a connection to something that the child is familiar with. These familiar connections can be things such as shapes, a person or people they know, the memory of an event that took place, etc.
3. Identify exactly what needs to be learnt.
Before you let your child start reading their work, take the time to identify what information actually needs to be understood and taken in. It would be a good idea to start by asking some questions such as, “What is the topic about?”, “What are the key points of the topic?” and “What are the three main understandings of each key point?”.
This will also help to create a breakdown of the information that your child is learning.
4. Make smart notes.
Writing down information can become a tedious process especially for children. Often making notes becomes an issue because children are writing down their information word for word. The fault lies in the fact that the information is being written but not actually understood.
So, help your child make smart notes. The first step is to highlight all the crucial points and phrases. Don’t over highlight! Over highlighting makes the vital points and phrases difficult to stand out. After that, make relatable notes next to your highlighted context. Lastly, rephrase the context without losing the main importance of the information. Allowing your children to rephrase the information will help them to understand the information in their terms.
5. Get your children to teach you or someone else.
When your child teaches someone the work they have learnt, it helps them to explain the concept. Verbally saying the information to someone else means that the child will have to make sense of what they have taken in first, before explaining to another.
Also, when teaching others what they have learnt it can indicate areas where they lack understanding and identify what they need to spend their focus on trying to remember.
6. Yes, studying can be used as an excuse to eat sweets.
When learning a new skill or taking in new information the brain needs glucose. Glucose is the main source of energy that is used in these processes and is best supplemented through sugar. Although this is great news for your kids, don’t overdo it! Too many sweet things can be bad. So, look at getting your children healthy sugars that can be found in fruit, vegetables and grains.
7. Assign a study time.
Make a daily routine for your child and let them study at the same time every day. The routine helps the brain register when it has to be engaging. During this study time make sure there are no distractions such as phones, tablets and TVs. This allows the brain to focus solely on what has to be taken in.
Ensure that the room or area where your children are studying is clean and uncluttered. Overwhelming surrounds overwhelm the brain. In cluttered areas, the brain still has distractions as it has more than one thing to focus on.
While you are at it, add a little flair to your child’s study space by putting a plant in the room. Plants represent nature and therefore, create a natural way for their neuro transmitters to develop. The use of plants also better one’s focus, increases productivity and reduces carbon dioxide.
8. Remember, they did well. So, don’t forget to reward them.
Train their brains to expect a reward. Therefore, your children will have a reason and motivation to study. When creating a reward for your children make sure that it is equivalent to the behaviour you want to target. Getting a break is not a reward. It is compulsory. The brain needs time to register the information it has learnt and breaks are required to help it do that. Allow your child to study for 20 – 30 minutes and then give them a 10 – 15 minute break. Breaks longer than 15 minutes should be avoided.
Give your children a reward that they can look forward to such as going to the movies, allowing them to have a friend over etc.
All is well that ends well.
With exams close by we encourage you to help your children try these techniques. Finding the best way for your child to studying is important as it will pave the way they are able to retain information in the future.
We wish all students writing their tests and exams the best of luck and we know that you will be a great success!