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About Practical Parenting Strategies with Dr. Heller

Dr. Carey Heller is a licensed psychologist and founding partner with The Heller Psychology Group LLC, which is a small private practice located in Bethesda, Maryland near Montgomery Mall. He specializes in working with children, adolescents, and their families. Dr. Heller conducts play, individual, and family psychotherapy for a variety... Read more

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How to Help Your Teen Prepare for Finals

Psychologist in Bethesda Maryland

Dr. Carey Heller: Psychologist in Bethesda, Maryland

With finals just a few weeks or less away for many middle school and high school students in the area, many parents wonder how their children and teens should prepare. Every person is different in terms of how far in advance they need to study, for how much time, and so forth. Nonetheless, the following items are suggested as general guidance for finals preparation:

  • Put the dates of all finals in school planner, calendar, etc.
  • In a text document, create a table, and write out specific study tools that will be used each day leading up to the exam for each subject (i.e., create flashcards, practice answering essay questions) as well as what types of material will be covered (i.e., specific textbook chapters, units).
  • The emphasis on early studying should be on re-learning and preparing study tools (i.e., flashcards) rather than on trying to memorize information.
  • If studying over the course of multiple weeks, it is ok to study for twenty to thirty minutes a day initially.
  • Practice answering sample test items in the same format as the exam (i.e., multiple choice, essay).

Here is a list of general study tools:


  • Practice answering items with notes initially
  • Work on putting definitions in own words
  • Once comfortable with items, write out definitions after giving correct answer orally

Table with key terms/definitions

  • Once complete, delete some items and fill them in at a later date using notes
  • Once more comfortable with material, fill in items without notes and check after to see if correct- immediately correct any errors

Discuss material orally with a classmate, parent, etc.

  • For example, if studying history, orally explain significant battles, events, and find meaning in how concepts fit together

Practice answering short answer/essay questions

  • Use notes initially
  • Practice some items orally
  • Practice other items in written form
  • Towards the end of studying, practice answering questions without notes if know material well enough

For additional tips, you should encourage your teen to look online, talk with teachers, and use other resources to identify study tools that likely would work for them. My practice’s website also has a variety of other relevant resources that may be helpful (

Good luck to all students on finals!

Copyright 2016 Carey A. Heller, Psy.D.

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*Disclaimer: The previous information is intended as general guidance based on my professional opinion, does not constitute an established professional relationship,  and should not replace the recommendations of a psychologist or other licensed professional with whom you initiate or maintain a professional relationship*

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Carey Heller, Psy.D.

About Carey Heller, Psy.D.

Dr. Carey Heller is the author of the blog Practical Parenting Strategies. He is a licensed psychologist with The Heller Psychology Group LLC in Bethesda, Maryland. Dr. Heller specializes in the evaluation and treatment of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), executive function challenges, learning disabilities, and co-occurring issues such as anxiety. With treatment, he often blends traditional psychotherapy with practical coaching to help individuals improve time management, organizational, and related study skills as relevant.


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