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Study Skills: Preparing Kids To Ace Any Test

We often expect kids to study and pass exams even though no one has taught them how to study. This was true for my own kids. My son was in first grade when he first started taking spelling tests.

I would tell him to go study and after twenty minutes, I would give him a practice test.  To him, studying meant staring at his spelling words for a few minutes before exclaiming, “I’m ready!” I would get two words into the practice test before we had to stop the test.  He struggled to remember the words and it was evident that whatever “studying” he did, wasn’t helping.  That’s when it dawned on me that I needed to teach him effective study skills.

Below are some study skills that helped my son become better at studying and taking tests.  Hopefully you find these strategies helpful as well.

Study Skills


  1. Pay attention in class. It’s important that students pay attention in class because that’s where they will learn a bulk of the information found on their tests.  Kids need to focus and pay attention so that they can take quality notes in class.  If their notes are inaccurate or lacking details, studying might not lead to the outcome they desire.
  1. Be organized. The more organized kids are leading up to a test, the more likely it is that they will pass.  However, many kids are clueless when it comes to organization. For example, my kids’ idea of organization was to shove all their old assignments in the bottom of their backpack.  Organization is a skill kids must be taught.  Teaching kids how to take notes, how to use a planner to keep track of assignments, and how to organize old handouts are some ways kids can get themselves more organized for success.
  1. Set aside time to study. Today’s kids are busy and hardly have time for themselves. It’s important that they learn to set aside sufficient time for studying.  This means kids might need to prepare for a test a week or two before it is scheduled to be given.
  1. Dedicate a space to studying. It’s hard to process complex information if your favorite song is blaring in the background. This is why it’s important that children study in a calm and relaxed environment.  Make sure children’s study spaces are quiet, well lit, free of distractions (ex, phone, tablet, etc.), and interruptions.
  1. Prioritize study material. Sometimes kids have a lot of information to sift through as they prepare for a test.  It helps if a student knows what information they should spend the most time studying and what areas they are already strong in. Prioritizing study materials allow students to determine the best way to use their study time in order to get optimal results.
  1. Develop effective time management skills. There are only so many hours in the day and kids must divide that time between school and extracurricular activities. In order to do well in school, children need to manage their time wisely from the beginning of the school year until the last day of class. Check out these great time management ideas for kids. 
  1. Develop effective study methods. Study methods are the techniques students use to help them learn, process, and retain information.  Some common study methods include note-taking, using flash cards, highlighting passages, taking practice tests, etc.   Studying is a lot easier if you have a plan for how to do it and what methods you will use.
  1. Create a study plan. Many times when kids go to study they don’t have a clue where to begin and waste time procrastinating.  Creating a study plan will help kids use their study time wisely.  Below is an example of a study planning form kids can use to prepare for a test.    My Study Plan
  1. Practice self-care.  It’s important that kids take care of their minds and bodies.  This helps them to stay alert and focused.  In order for kids to perform at peak levels, they need to  eat nutritious meals, engage in physical activity, and get adequate rest on a regular basis.
  1. Think positively. Stinkin’ Thinkin,’ or negative self-talk, can break a child’s self-confidence. We must encourage children to monitor the things they say to themselves about who they are and what they can do. When children believe that they can’t accomplish something, it often becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.  However, when they learn think positively, they approach challenges with confidence instead of with fear.

I hope you find these study skills tips helpful. If you do, you might also like this resource designed to help kids develop their study skills.

Study Skills Journal









This study skills journal is a must have for any child’s study toolkit.  Here’s what’s included in this awesome resource!

Study Habit Assessment

















What study skills do you teach kids to help them prepare for a test? Feel free to share your tips in the comments below.

Study Skills

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