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Teachers generally give students tips on how to study. But it takes time and practice to develop good habits. You can reinforce these habits at home. For example:
Help your child structure time in order to complete assignments. For example, if your eighth-grader has a biology report due in 3 weeks, discuss all the steps she needs to take to complete it on time, including:
- selecting a topic;
- doing the research by looking up books and other materials on the topic and taking notes;
- figuring out what questions to discuss;
- drafting an outline;
- writing a rough draft; and
- revising and completing the final draft.
Encourage your child to write down how much time she expects to spend on each step.
Help your child get started when he has to do research reports or other big assignments. Encourage him to use the library. If he isn't sure where to begin, have him ask the librarian for suggestions. If he's using a computer for on-line reference resources--whether the computer's at home, school, or the library--make sure he's getting whatever help he needs to use it properly. As mentioned earlier, many public libraries have homework centers where there are tutors or other kinds of one-on-one assistance. After your child has done the research, listen while he tells you the points he wants to make in the report.
Give practice tests. Help your third-grader prepare for a spelling test by saying the words while she writes them down. Then have her correct her own test.
Help your child avoid last-minute cramming. Review with your fifth-grader how to study for his social studies test well before it's to be given. You can have him work out a schedule of what he needs to do to, make up a practice test, and write down answers to the questions he's made up.
Talk with your child about how to take a test. Be sure she understands how important it is to read the instructions carefully and to keep track of the time and avoid spending too much time on any one question.