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Test-Taking Tips for Homeschooling

by Jessica Parnell | Oct 10, 2017 | 3 min read

What do you feel when you hear the word “test?” Fear? Anxiety? Dread? It’s okay, we’ve all felt that way about tests at one point or another in our lives. It is perfectly natural to feel stressed about tests. No worries, we got you. Check out these fantastic test-taking tips for homeschoolers!

Make Studying a Priority

Homeschoolers have an advantage – you have more time to study your biology notes, your English vocabulary lists, and so forth. Use this time wisely! Making studying a priority in your life will boost your confidence. Create a study calendar where you can carve out a specific time each day to study a certain subject. Plan your days so you don’t feel so rushed when the test or quiz rolls around. You’ll feel much better, trust me!

What’s your Learning Style?

There are three types of learning styles: auditory, visual, and kinesthetic. If you’re not sure what learning style you have, take a quiz to find out. Once you know your learning style, it’s easy to figure out how to study for a test.

  • Auditory: Study concepts by repeating them out loud over and over. To make it fun, have a partner work with you! It helps to have a “study buddy” because they will motivate and encourage you.
  • Visual: Sticky notes are your best friend! Cover your room with dozens of them to memorize difficult concepts. Your parent may not be happy with a potential mess, but say that you’re studying and you shouldn’t be grounded.
  • Kinesthetic: Use flashcards, either old-fashioned index cards or Quizlet.

Discovering your learning style will benefit your studying. You won’t feel so lost because you have no idea how to study!

Learn Anywhere.

Learning knows no end, so why not take your knowledge on-the-go? Create study notes for each chapter of that biology textbook. Make flashcards for photosynthesis that day you read about it. Study ALONG the way, not just near test-taking time. Don’t cram! You’re bound to stress out if you cram furiously before the test. You might learn the material, but retaining it is more important.

Note-Taking Methodology 101

A key skill in any study toolbox used beyond high school is note-taking! There are several different types of note-taking methods. Sounds mind-boggling, right? Each method is designed to attract various learning styles. Here are five methods for note-taking. Take notes, everyone!

  • The Cornell method: One of the most popular note-taking methods of all time. The main points, details, study cues, and summary are all written in one place. The paper is also formatted to allow room for notes.
  • Mapping method: Visual learners, rejoice! This one’s for you. This method allows you to connect relationships with topics. Check out an example of the mapping method here.
  • Outlining: For those organized students, outlining might be the note-taking method for you. It’s very much like how this blog post is formatted, with a main topic (the heading), a subtopic, and bullet points underneath.
  • Recording a lecture: For auditory learners, you can record yourself reading a chapter of a textbook out loud. Play it back to study from the recording. It’s a perfect way to compliment your learning style.
  • Note-taking apps: All of these methods can be used with apps! There are so many programs out there – choose one that’s right for you.
  • For Apple users, Notability is a favorite among reviewers. It allows you to record audio, take notes, and more! Everything syncs with either Dropbox, Google Drive, or iCloud.
  • For Android users, Google Keep is an excellent note taker app. Clip notes and photos for safekeeping and memorization.

It’s Going to be Okay

One of the most important test-taking tips, we saved for last. RELAX. It’s going to be okay. Grades are not a measure of who you are, just how you take a test. Take some time before the test to stop studying. (Yes, you read that correctly.) If you like listening to music, find a calming playlist that will soothe your jitters. If you have pent-up energy, go outside and take a walk. You’ll find that you’ll be much calmer for a test and will have the ability to focus.

Studying sounds daunting, but we’ve given you some tools to pack in your study toolbox. Armed with the hammer of note-taking and the pliers of planning, you’ll be a pro in no time. But we have more tips and tricks up our sleeves – check out our part II, coming soon!

What’s in your studying toolbox?  Drop a comment below.

Jessica Parnell
Hello everyone! I’m Jessica Parnell — mom, homeschool evaluator, teacher, and CEO of Bridgeway Academy. In my 20+ years of experience as a homeschool mom and evaluator, I have had the privilege of meeting homeschoolers that take a variety of approaches to their education. It is their many stories and successes that inspire me in my own homeschooling and I love to pass on the knowledge that I have gained from them to other homeschooling families. The one constant that always remains true is that there’s no such thing as a “cookie cutter child.” Each child is fearfully and wonderfully made and as a result, learns and functions differently. It’s our job to ensure that we’re raising each child to fulfill their individual purpose and when we can teach in a way that inspires them, we are on our way to homeschool success. When I’m not writing or teaching my children, I like to ski, write and participate in triathlons. I graduated from Kutztown University with a Bachelor of Science in Education and a Masters in English and I am currently pursuing a degree in Neuroleadership.
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