At one point or another we have all crammed for a test, or at least felt as if we weren’t as prepared as we should have been. While cramming typically is not a recipe for success, there are ways to go about studying that will take less time and improve retention.
First, the underlying philosophy of this three step process is organization. When your study process is organized, it becomes an easier task. Secondly, studying must use a variety of learning methods to provide a well rounded understanding and promote real subject matter retention.
Step 1: Read it. Whatever the material – from science to civics – read for understanding. With math this is not so easy, but reviewing problems and solutions is an excellent way to complete this step. Identify the pages in the text book that the test or quiz will cover and read them. Use active reading strategies such as writing margin notes or summarizing content at the end of a chapter.
Step 2: Write it. Have the student create her own practice test based on the content of the upcoming test. For example, the student may go through her margin notes from a text book chapter and make questions on the key points. With math subjects, we substitute problem solving here. The student can take problems from old assignments, compile them into a single test, complete the test, and review the answers. Once the student has the test written, we move on to step three…
Step 3: Say it. Working with a parent, tutor or even a sibling, read the questions aloud to the student. If the correct answer cannot be given, give the answer and then move on. After the test questions are all answered, any troubled areas can be reviewed. Do this until every answer is correct. Of course, after the child has read the material and written the questions and answers, he or she will likely already know the material.
If your student follows this process for a test, even as a supplement to his regular study habits, he will greatly improve his chances of acing the test!