How Parents can Help Students Ace their Final Exams
While the semester winds down, you may notice your child’s stress levels cranking up. Between year-end high school science projects and final calculus exams, the pressure to perform is at an apex.
As a parent, your natural inclination may be to rescue. Though taking the tests for them may not be an option, there are some ways you can make sure they’re prepared to pass.
Below are six final exam strategies parents can use to help students get their best grade.
- Fix a nutritionally complete breakfast.
There’s a reason why it’s the most important meal of the day. Skipping breakfast before a big exam is a sure way to sabotage all those hours spent studying. Start by packing in the proteins from eggs, nuts, yogurt or fish. They will help regulate blood sugar levels throughout the day and make sure they stay mentally alert. Other slow-release foods like whole grains from steel cut oats or whole-wheat toast will boost brain power.
- Prepare snacks to steady energy levels.
No matter how healthy a student’s full meals are, they’re unlikely to last all day. Feeding the brain with the antioxidants in dried fruit or healthy fats from snacks, like walnuts, will help with information recall and concentration. Other healthy portable snacks might include trail mix, jerky, seeds or nut butter. Make sure to avoid sugars and starches, which can spike, then crash blood sugar levels.
- Encourage students to stay hydrated.
From headaches to lethargy, even a mild dehydration can cripple the mind. Students can prioritize their mental focus by carrying a water bottle with them on test day. Most experts recommend drinking a full 8 ounces of water every hour or two throughout the day. If permitted, encourage them to take a bottle of water into the exam. According to the BBC, one study revealed students who came into the exam prepared with a beverage, outperformed those who did not by an average of 5 percent.
- Make study breaks fun.
Encourage your student to take time away to reset and regroup. If you want to get involved in the process, have the entire family participate in a short Q&A at dinnertime. Go around the table, allowing the future test-taker to quiz other household members. Set a rule that once someone answers three questions correctly, the game wraps.
- Enforce a strict bedtime.
Cramming all night may seem like a foolproof way to ace an exam; however, research shows a lack of sleep can severely impede the brain’s ability to recall information. A minimum of 7 hours is needed to perform at peak levels. Doing so can increase student performance up to 10 percent. The fuller their night’s rest, the more likely the brain is to convert short-term memories into long-term ones. If you feel your test taker hasn’t absorbed all they need to before bedding down, leave a few minutes in the morning to review notes.
- Talk through test-taking strategies.
Knowing how to test is half the battle. Make sure your child walks into the exam room armed with all the possible tools. Advise them to pause when they first get a test and carefully read all the instructions. From there, they can go question by question, striking through any answers that are obviously wrong. If they don’t know an answer, suggest they circle the question, move on and come back at the end. Encourage educated guesses for those that really stump them. Have them look through the test and review their work at least once before submitting to the teacher.
No matter how much time your kid spends with their nose in a book, middle school math will always be hard. Implement these test day tips to help them get ahead in their religious studies.