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End of Course testing to begin this week

Parents of high school students who attend Emanuel County Schools, don’t forget that End of Course testing begins this week. Swainsboro High and Emanuel County Institute will start testing Thursday, April 28, and will continue through May 11. The complete schedule follows below.

Additionally, here are a few test-taking tips that may come in handy for your students as they embark on this pivotal part of the school term.

1. Discourage your student from cramming. Instead, study in intervals. Studying in 20- to 50-minute increments and giving yourself five to 10 minutes in between is more beneficial than cramming. Distributing learning over time typically benefits long-term retention more than a short period. When your student is studying, remember that reading is not studying. Interact with the materials, but then take a break and come back to it later.

2. Eat, and eat well. Encourage your student to eat breakfast each morning before their End of Course tests; a healthy breakfast directly benefits academic performance and reported GPA among university students. Avoid the sugar and reach for a protein-rich breakfast instead.

Remember, what your student eats overall as part of a healthy diet is important, too. Eating healthy snacks during the day when you are studying for and taking final exams. Have your child reach for nuts, fruit, protein bars, and yogurt are good choices. Pack grapes and mixed fruit; throw snack bags full of nuts and dried fruit; make rollups with lunch meat and cheese; or prepare almond butter and pita bites.

3. Find alternate study spots. It’s important to find a spot that brings your student comfort and peace when they study, but it is just as important to shake up their finals, or in this case, end of course routine. Spending all night in their bedroom staring at a textbook is draining and sometimes the view in the living room just isn’t cutting it. Make a change for the brain.

According to the New York Times, changing the room where a person studies improve retention. Psychologists found that college students who studied a list of 40 vocabulary words in two different rooms — one windowless and cluttered, the other modern, with a view on a courtyard — did far better on a test than students who studied the words twice, in the same room. Why? The brain makes subtle associations between what it is studying and the background sensations it has at the time. Try alternating your study spots between the library, a study room, and a quiet coffee house.

5. Manage your time. Cramming causes anxiety, which lowers a student’s ability to retain information. By creating a balanced study plan and schedule, students are able to study each subject in its entirety and ultimately boost test performance.

6. Avoid the all-nighter. Almost every student pulls an all-nighter, but that doesn’t make it a good idea. Based on a 2008 study by Pamela Thacher, Associate Professor of Psychology at St. Lawrence University, all-nighters impair reasoning and memory for as long as four days. As a result, students will often receive lower grades. But that’s not all; students would then be forced to wake up earlier than expected—and that’s bad, too. This interferes with rapid-eye-movement (REM), which aids memory. With that said, have your student get a good night’s sleep and expect to perform better on tests. (Here’s another quick tip: Review the toughest material right before going to bed the night before the test. It makes it easier to recall the material later.)

7. Minimize distractions. Research shows that while many teens prefer to study while listening to music, texting friends, or watching television, they are less likely to retain information that way. If your student must listen to music, stick to instrumental music as opposed to something more contemporary.

8. Finally, maximize practice-testing. Your student may have thought highlighting, re-reading and summation would be effective ways to study, but think again! A 2013 study, Improving Students’ Learning With Effective Learning Techniques, found that these techniques do not consistently boost students’ performance. Practice-testing through the use of flashcards or taking practice exams, however, was observed to be a highly effective studying technique.

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