The word “cram” can carry a negative connotation, but many of us have found ourselves staying up late, preparing for a test or project, and performing well as a result. Some of us find it beneficial to be pushed to the limits of what we are comfortable with. Others, however, find it deeply stressful and can even shut down completely when faced with an upcoming deadline. Ideally, a student would prepare consistently over the course of months, but life often gets in the way of that happening. Sometimes the best and only option is to cram!
With the impending end-of-semester finals season approaching, you and your child may be starting to feel the pressure. Perhaps other families have told you about the nightly study rituals their children are undergoing, or maybe your child’s teachers have begun to pass out study guides with mountains of information to prepare for. Some students prepare for finals by pulling late nights, studying alone. Other students respond better to the structure and guidance of an instructor who can help them efficiently navigate the workload.
If your child prefers to work on his or her own, you can help by providing a schedule for not only the studying, but for the actual tests themselves. Post a daily or weekly schedule in the kitchen so that your child is reminded of the specific areas to cover on a consistent basis. Walk through the test day routine, making sure to highlight the importance of a good night’s sleep, and a healthy breakfast. Encourage your child to envision what the test will look like, as he or she is sitting at the desk, and what steps he or she can take to make a best guess on a hard question. If the teachers allow open books or study guides, help your child prepare those, and come up with a fool-proof plan to ensure your child brings them to school on the big day.
This dynamic may be tricky for you to manage, so getting help from an experienced instructor is a great option as well. An instructor can proactively manage all of the scheduling, organization and time management that goes in to studying for a final. An instructor can also help with writing down the formulas, key words, diagrams, and any other aids your child should use to study with, in addition to helping with how to approach each question and how to ask for help.
The earlier you can get started, the better. But, if you are left with only one or two weeks before the test, so it’s paramount to get started as soon as possible. It can be a stressful time of the year, and having someone who is enthusiastic and positive working with your child can lighten the mood of the entire house. Sometimes cramming can be fun!
Director of Education