If your children need to improve their study skills, they need to develop the habit of studying in advance of the time papers or tests are due. Do not allow them to procrastinate and get locked into studying only the night before a test or writing a paper without first developing an outline.
In order to develop good study routines, children need to look at their after school schedules and determine how much study time will be available each night. They also need to enter into their daily planners the due dates for longer assignments. Once they have that figured out, it doesn’t take too much to work backward from the due dates and determine target dates for reaching certain goals in completing the task. For example, when writing a paper, pick a date to choose the topic, another date to complete the research, and still another date to finish the outline. Then leave time to write the 1st and 2nd drafts of the paper.
Chunking work helps children to focus more. Work for 10-15 minutes on the first 10 math problems, and then take a three-minute break. Or, when studying for a test, spend 10-15 minutes on vocabulary. Take a short break and then spend 10-15 minutes going over factual details. If there is a lot of information to memorize, the best time is to do it shortly before going to bed. By reviewing for three to four nights before a test, the children will be committing the information to longer-term memory.
Trying some of these ideas will be helpful as well. Have the child pretend she is the teacher and ask questions that the teacher might include on the test. Then have mom or dad quiz the child using the questions that the child developed. Or, have a friend come over and study together. Many times a friend can explain things in a way that your child understands. Try these techniques for increasing study skills and see if your child has more success.