Whether you focus on AP, or DSST and CLEP tests are on your goal sheet, the spring tends to be testing season. Since nearly every course Care Bear is completing is lined up with an exam, we’ve got quite the testing schedule lined up! It is very easy to get overwhelmed, overworked, and lose motivation. Here are some things we are trying this year to keep the motivation going.
One at a time
If Care Bear can focus all her efforts on one test at a time, studying becomes much easier to manage. Alhamdulilah (Praise God), she only has one AP exam this year, so we are able to schedule almost all of her tests around our personal schedule. Since she’s been studying for nearly all of her tests all year, that means that one or two weeks of focused studying for each exam should, in sha Allah (God willing), be plenty.
Have an end date
While I can’t just let her veg out over the summer, we do end formal, graded studies over the summer. If she has an end date to work toward, it is like the finish line of the race. In sha Allah it serves as a motivation to finish up on a good note and work hard to finish by the agreed upon date. An end date also helps us work backward to decide how to space out the various tests, and get an overall picture of the coming months.
Use a variety of study materials
We have flash cards for AP US History, Spark Notes study sheet for Biology, and we plan on signing up for the Instant Cert six month plan. If I get creative, maybe I can put together a game of some sorts, but the idea is that she doesn’t just go down the same conveyor belt of studying for each exam. Sure, there will be similarities, but I make sure to provide different resources. It also helps to find out what tools she likes best and learns from the easiest. In sha Allah that’ll make next year’s round of exams that much easier to prepare for.
Allow some things to fall through the cracks
Notice I said some. We don’t want to get crazy here, and not require some type of accountability for Mom and student. It hurts my homeschool mom heart to say that we should let some things fall through the cracks, but there are just some things that need to be let go. Care Bear planned on taking the Analyzing and Interpreting Literature exam last year, but is having a really tough time passing the practice exams. You know, we just have to let it go for now. Literature is a weak point for both of us, and that has to be okay. Our kids aren’t going to be good at everything, so find the things they can be successful at, and make sure to include those in whatever you do. I’m sure there will be a test or two (or more) that Care Bear won’t pass this year. No problem! If that also means that we set aside another test for later (or never), it’s not the end of the world.
Now, with that said, I do not encourage the attitude of, “I just don’t wanna.” Teenagers are at the cusp of adulthood, and normally want to be treated like adults, so that just don’t fly. There’s a difference between realizing the end result of a task isn’t worth the work required, and just giving up. Care Bear is an active member in the goal setting for her education, so I expect her to keep working on her goals, within reason.
We’re excited around here to get started (and finished) with this testing season, in sha Allah! We’ll let you know how it goes as we approach each exam.