How to Get Better Test Grades

Question: How can I help my daughter in the fourth grade learn how to solve story problems? - Confused

Answer: Work closely with your young daughter to help her learn some strategies for solving story problems. Start by teaching her to rework examples of similar problems in her textbook before beginning an assignment.

Believe it or not, one of the best ways for students to become more expert at solving story problems is simply to solve more story problems. If the teacher only assigns the even numbered problems in the math textbook, encourage your daughter also to solve the odd ones.

You need to make sure your daughter knows how to read story problems. Have her get in the habit of reading a problem until she has a clear picture of what must be found out in order to solve it. The last sentence of the problem frequently gives this information.

Because story problems have so many facts and figures jammed into a few words, many students find it very helpful to draw pictures or diagrams that describe all the facts and relationships stated in the problems. Substituting smaller numbers for larger ones can also make problems simpler to solve.

Another useful strategy is to have your daughter describe the problem to you in her own words before she begins to solve it. Plus, she should explain what she is going to do to solve a problem. Talking about problems increases understanding.

When working with your daughter, do not solve the difficult problems for her. Instead, ask questions to guide her. Also, encourage her to get in the habit of evaluating whether or not an answer is reasonable. ** *

Question: My son seems to like school and usually does well. Unfortunately, he sometimes does terribly on tests. How can we help him get better test grades? - Poor Grades

Answer: Since students are faced with tests throughout their time in school, it definitely makes sense for them to become as test-wise as possible. The first thing that students at any grade level need to know is what's going to be on the test. This really isn't difficult, as teachers usually review for tests and give broad hints by saying such things as "You really should know this."

Students will also get valuable clues about what will be on tests from study guides and recent quizzes. Class notes also provide test information. Plus, if students make sure that they can answer all the questions at the end of a textbook chapter, they will usually be prepared for a test.

Besides knowing what to study for a test as part of their preparation, students also need to know the type of test that they'll be taking. For example, students really need to know specific details for matching, true-false and fill-in tests, while they need to have the broad picture for essay tests.

Keep in mind that the truly test-wise student is the one who reviews frequently and doesn't just wait until the last minute to study for tests. Finally, doing homework does prepare students for tests.