The following is a guest post from DSST, a CBE (credit by exam) provider.
Standardized exams can be tricky and challenging for many students, including homeschoolers. They often require a large amount of focus, test prep, and mastery of testing techniques. If you want to your child to do well on exam day, consider implementing these do’s and don’ts into his or her test prep regimen.
Do utilize online studying resources. There are a variety of affordable and free online course programs, such as iStudySmart and Education Portal that will allow your child to prepare for an exam at his or her own pace. Online course programs will also allow you to customize your child’s test preparation to their needs.
Do provide feedback to your homeschooled student. Before preparing for an exam, it can be helpful to have your child take a diagnostic test. You can provide your child with extra assignments and projects to help strengthen his or her knowledge in weaker areas.
Do keep your child disciplined. Learning from home has its benefits but can also present a series of diversions. Use apps like Freedom or Anti-Social to keep your child off social networking sites. Part of getting through a standardized test is attention and speed; by minimizing distractions during study periods, you will be able to set your child up for success on test day.
Do visit your local library. Homeschooled students may not have access to a regular high school library, but they still have a plethora of resources available to them. Your local library can provide various free study materials and test prep books. If your child intends on studying for a long period of time, ask your local librarian about extended loan periods.
Do balance out your child’s study preparation with work outside of core subjects. It’s important that he or she focus heavily on the content making up the exam, but at times this can be mind numbing. Stimulate your child’s brain with leisure activities or creative subjects, such as art or music. These topics will help strengthen long-term memory and recall, a critical tool for doing well on standardized tests.
Don’t procrastinate. Remember that being a successful test taker requires persistence and self-motivation. Continue to push your child to strive for excellence in both his or her daily assignments and major exams by creating effective time management systems.
Don’t try to make your child memorize everything. Understand the key concepts that he or she needs to know for the exam, and have your child study them closely. Study guides are helpful in conceptualizing the right amount of information that is needed for an exam. If your child gets bogged down with too many details, he or she may find it hard to memorize it all on test day.
Don’t let your child be too isolated before exam day. It is important that he or she stay disciplined when studying for a test, but make sure there’s an opportunity to reconnect with friends from time to time. Ask your child’s friends to go over exam content or create games from practice questions to play with the entire family during dinner. Use your child’s “social” network to balance and strengthen exam preparation.
Don’t compare your child to others. Every child is different and unique. Just because Karen’s homeschooled daughter can speak five languages and aced all her DSST exams doesn’t mean it will be just as simple for your child. Focus on your child’s strengths and test him or her on subjects in which he or she is likely to perform well.
Don’t let your child miss out on sleep. The best way to ace a test is to give the brain enough time to prepare for it. There are numerous benefits to sleep, but the most important one is allowing the mind to process the information it’s learned. Make sure your child gets six to eight hours of sleep the night before test day so he or she is prepared!
A form of prior learning assessment, DSSTs offer students a cost effective, time saving way to use their knowledge acquired outside of the classroom (perhaps from reading, on-the-job training, or independent study) to accomplish their educational goals.
Over 2,000 colleges and universities recognize the DSST program and award college credit for passing scores. Colleges, universities and corporations throughout the United States and in some other countries administer tests year-round.
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