When it comes to understanding your teenager as an individual and helping them navigate their school career, the same rule applies as with every other aspect of their lives - no one size fits all.
As you may well remember with your own school career, the older you got, the more comprehensive, difficult, and important your testing became. Your teen is now on that same journey, however, the revision methods you employed during your test preparatory phase might not work as well for them. It's important to remember that each child has their own unique way of absorbing and retaining information. More so, it's important to investigate which revision style suits your child in order for them to do their best, and for you to support their efforts.
There are lots of different ways to approach revision. You and your teen will certainly find something that sticks, be it the simple highlighter method, or rather a more creative technique such as graphic organizers, or perhaps a more sophisticated one like consolidation and recall activities. Whichever one it may be, just make sure that you eliminate the option of 'cramming'. Though the concept of 'revision' isn't wildly appealing to most teens, something - anything - is better than last-minute cramming, as research shows this method is resoundingly the least effective.
This tried-and-tested method is as old as time (or as old as highlighters have been around). The best place to use this method is in the beginning stages of preparing and gathering information. Whether your child is learning from a physical textbook or a digital one, it's a great way to practice picking up and highlighting important information. This way, when it comes time to collate the information, it's ready and quite literally jumping off the page.
Once your child already has a broad understanding of the study material, flashcards become an incredibly useful tool in helping to jog their memory. Flashcards contain small nuggets of information which then triggers the mind to recall more detailed information, allowing your child to more fully flesh out the concept or topic of study.
Sometimes teens find it easier to digest big chunks of important information by making their own notes and re-writing it in a way that makes more sense to them. The act of re-writing the information alone is a great way to log and retain the information.
4. Quizzing and verbal Q&A
Quizzing can be a fun, interactive revision method which allows you to get involved in your child's study sessions. Often, this method works hand-in-hand with flashcards or cue-cards, or even with old test papers. If you don't have an old paper to test from, simply create a list of questions that make sense to the subject matter at hand (or get them to write the list) and run through it to test your child's level of knowledge.
5. Past papers
If there's an opportunity to get hold of past test papers from your child's teacher, school, or even some standardised tests online, that's a great way for your teen to gauge where they are with their retention. Not only will this prepare them for what to expect - reducing any fear or nerves surrounding the upcoming test - it will also help them to see where there are gaps in their knowledge.
6. Let them teach you
Allowing your teenager to 'school' you on the relevant subject matter is a great way for them to better comprehend the material and practice repetition. When they become the teacher, do your best to ask questions that will allow them to expand on the subject and wax lyrical. Again, this will also help them to discover what it is that they do and don't know.
7. Mind maps and graphic organizers
Graphic organizers, which integrate both text and graphics, are exceptionally helpful for teens who are more visually inclined and a great way to identify relationships between concepts, terms, and facts. These include mind maps, persuasion maps, sequence charts, story maps, hierarchy charts, and more. Find a comprehensive list here.
8. Revision Apps
It's 2022, which means that you can now turn to digital applications (Apps) and software to bolster your child's revision efforts. This is particularly useful for teens who prefer to keep things digital. Many of these Apps are adaptations of the above-mentioned methods and can be a much easier way to save and store than physical paperwork. Bear in mind, the fact that these Apps are used on mobile devices, and your child runs the risk of being easily distracted by other mobile activities. You can find a list of Applications here.
9. Study Groups
Peer-to-peer study groups are a wonderful way to get your social butterfly a teenager excited about revision. When small, intimate groups of students band together to study, it allows them to swap notes and information, help one another fill in the missing gaps, and to practice the above-mentioned verbal techniques (testing and quizzing).
10. General wellbeing
Amidst the mounting anxiety that surrounds tests and examinations, it's crucial to ensure your teenager's overall state of wellbeing. This includes maintaining a balanced diet that's filled with brain food, staying well hydrated, and most importantly - getting enough sleep. It's also a good idea to encourage some mindfulness practices during regular study breaks, like getting outside into the fresh air and moving their body.