Midterms and finals: two landmarks every semester all students dread. For your students, this may be the first intense evaluation where students put all they’ve learned to the test. Literally. Sure, it’s exciting to wrap up studying for the first unit, but it’s also stressful.
Preparing for these exams don’t need to be stressful, even for students who are good test takers. bulb has always been in the business of helping students share their smarts with the world, no matter what kind of smarts they have. But every student must, at one point or another, put their smarts to the test.
Below are 3 study habits students can develop now.
- Block schedule studying. Encourage your students to schedule consistent chunks of time each day dedicated to one specific task —like completing assignments, studying for a test, reading, flash card memorization or brainstorming for their next group project. Assure your students they can simply begin with a half hour of uninterrupted studying, and increase into larger increments as they hone their discipline. Remind them they aren’t just studying for this specific test, but they are forming lifelong work habits that will serve them in college, career and beyond.
- Use a distraction blocker for your computer and phone. Because block scheduling means working for small amounts of time over the course of many months, it’s important this dedicated block not be diminished by any distraction (although we highly encourage them to take a bathroom break here and there…). We know — that’s easier said than done. But there are great tools out there to help your students in this counter-cultural endeavor. Find an app you like for your computer and phone (we suggest Freedom) and have your students set their parameters. They can turn the blocker on and off, or, better yet, schedule it, to eliminate having to think about it. Choose the necessary sites and stop push notifications from others and set a time when notification can begin again. You can block sites like Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, Tumblr and more. This means they are free to use their computers and phones toward their study efforts, without the temptation of distraction. Remember —staying focused is hard work, but will serve your students for life.
- Become the teacher. As John Dewey once said, “We don’t learn from experience, we learn from reflecting on experience.” Encourage your students to take a concept they are studying and become the teacher of it. Ask them to practice with parents or siblings. The exercise of telling someone else will help students to gain perspective on what they are studying and ask themselves, “Do I really know what I am talking about?” Having to answer questions on the topic motivates students to think more deeply and critically, to think about it in a different way than they have been.
Hopefully, these ideas will offer additional support to your students as they head into any evaluation.