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5 Study Tips That Can Lead to Better Grades

There's one question I always get from parents: how do I get my child to study more or improve their study habits? Here are five study tips that can help your child better absorb the material from their classes long term, and ultimately get better scores on tests and better grades:

  1. Establish a routine: Encourage your child to set aside 'study' time at least three times per week, even if it's only 15 minutes per day. Tack it onto the beginning or end of their homework time. For example, let's say your child needs better grades in math. Before even starting their homework, have them spend 5-10 minutes just studying all the notes and materials they learned so far in math that week. Then, between homework assignments, or at the very end of homework time, spend 5-10 more minutes doing the same thing, studying the same material. Not only will this repetition help them to learn the material (which will help them complete their homework), if they're doing this at least three times a week, they're far more likely to retain the material long term.

  2. Set goals and incentivize with rewards. Work with your child to set both short-term and long-term goals for their academic performance. For some students, the good grades/validation from the doing well in the class is enough motivation. Sometimes, incentivizing with additional rewards that is of specific value to them can make a huge difference in their motivation. For example, let's say you set a short term goal with your child that they aim to get a B or higher on an upcoming test. Establish with them that if they do this, you'll reward them with something of value to them. Please keep in mind, this does not have to be a financial reward and does not have to be materialistically valuable. Everyone is different. Maybe your child loves something obscure and different - indulge that as a reward. Don't reward them with things they already have an abundance of. It should feel to them like they've earned something. Maybe you take them to do their favorite activity or take them to a new hobby they've been wanting to try, maybe you allow them a break from one of their chores that week, maybe they get more time playing video games that night or weekend, maybe they get to choose dinner or dessert that night...etc. You get my point. There are various ways to motivate your child as long as the reward is genuinely valuable to them.

  3. Study in the same place. Our minds are hardwired to remember repetition. Environmental factors play a role in memory. Sit in the same chair or at the same desk when studying as you did last time. If you do this, you're more likely to remember the material. This can go for visual or auditory cues as well - sometimes these serve as anchors. Playing a certain song or doing a certain action every time you go over a specific set of material can anchor that information to that action or song. For example, let's say your child has a cupcake eraser: have them toss the eraser in the air and catch it whenever they go over a specific equation or fact they need to know. When they're trying to remember it, that action or even just envisioning the tossing of the eraser can trigger the information to come flooding back.

  4. Keep it short: It's better to study for periods of 20-30 minutes or less at a time, more frequently. They're more likely to actually focus for the entire duration of time, it doesn't feel overwhelming and tedious, and they'll be more likely to make this a routine or habit.

  5. Study for knowledge and understanding, not tests: The more often a student studies material they've learned, with the goal of actually knowing and understanding that material, or building a skill in the long term, the better they'll do on all their assignments and tests. Studying should not just happen right before a test with the goal of regurgitating info that will be forgotten the minute the test is over. And while we all do this and sometimes we have to do this to get by, the more a student studies with the goal of simply expanding their knowledge and skill around a particular subject (like math or English vocab), the more likely they'll actually build upon this and do better on all their assignments and tests.

These study habits can help anyone of any age absorb their course material and earn better grades. Of course, there may be times when additional support is needed. If that's something you think you need, reach out to Strongin Learning today learn more about our services and how we can help your child succeed.

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