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By Jeremy Brooks

Effective test-taking skills

It’s that time of year again. Schools are heading toward spring break and midterms are looming. Before taking off for a week of fun, students have to prepare for these annual test marathons.

Tests are, unfortunately, seen as a necessary thing in today’s school system. Because schools often put an emphasis on the letter grade rather than focusing on whether or not the student actually understands the information, it is no surprise that American students often say that they are struggling in school. But don’t worry, that is exactly what this article is for. For the majority of students, test taking can be an extremely taxing situation because tests make them think, take up a lot of their time and work up their nerves, which can lead to test anxiety. If you or your child suffers from test anxiety, the last thing you want to do is stress. Instead, try incorporating a few of these test taking strategies into your lives and you will soon be able to take tests effectively.

Do not cram

Cramming is a common practice where kids will attempt to “study” the day of the test. This, however, should not be considered studying because all that they are doing is trying to get their brain to remember information for an extremely short period of time. In other words, cramming is counterproductive. Students can actually forget more information than they gain if they use this method. Instead, students should try to study a little bit at a time over the days leading up to the test.

Keep the study time short

Studying for long periods can sometimes put a strain on a student’s focus. With today’s technology, the majority of kids have even shorter attention spans compared to generations in the past. Studying for short periods, some people like to call it “chunking”, of about 20 minutes is a lot easier for students to handle rather than making them study for hours on end.

Although it can be effective if a student studies for short periods of time, everyone should keep in mind that those 20 minutes need to be focused. Nothing else can be going on around the student for this strategy to be effective. In addition, the student should also have multiple study sessions throughout the day.

It is okay to guess

If you don’t know the answer, that’s okay. You can guess. However, do not guess blindly. Instead, make an educated guess. Use what you know in order to narrow down the wrong answers. Chances are, you know something about the question. Once you have narrowed down your options, go with your first answer. You will be surprised how strong your intuition can be when you trust it.

Test anxiety is a legitimate phobia, especially among students. The education system puts a lot of pressure on students. In addition to this, there is more of an emphasis on the grade that is earned than focusing on whether or not a student understands the information. In order to give your student the best chance of surviving in today’s education system, make sure you encourage good study skills that last throughout the school year.

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