A spelling bee can be daunting to study for at first, but there are ways to make it much more manageable. If you are thinking of entering a spelling bee or are already in a spelling bee and need some help preparing, then you’ve come to the right place. We’ll give you some helpful tips and tricks to help you study for your upcoming spelling bee.
While you might be most familiar with spelling bees from elementary school, spelling bees can happen at any level of education. Since a spelling bee is just about being able to spell words correctly, it isn’t really an age-specific activity and can be enjoyed by anyone. It also tends to be pretty inclusive of people from all types of financial backgrounds since words are something that everyone comes into contact with.
How Do You Prepare for a Spelling Bee?
Spelling bee preparation can seem like a big task, but there are ways to break it up. The best way to start to study for a spelling bee is to make a plan. Think about how much time you have before the bee to prepare, and then think about how much time each week you want to dedicate to studying. This will put you on the right path towards creating a study schedule for you to follow.
For your study schedule, think about what time of day you tend to learn best and how long you tend to be able to focus. Start with that information and begin creating a plan for when you plan to study and for how long. Make sure you don’t create too much of a pattern in your study plan since too much of the same thing can make it boring and maybe even make you want to quit. You should aim to have a study schedule that makes you excited to learn more and study for your upcoming spelling bee.
If you need help making a great study schedule, check out our article on creating a study schedule. While the article is a little more focused on studying for school, the study tips carry over to the world of spelling bees.
Make your preparation for the spelling bee fun. Try to find someone to help you with it or get your whole family involved in the process. Learning new words isn’t something that you can grow out of, so studying for a spelling bee is an age-inclusive activity. It can also be a lot more enjoyable to have others to study with.
Another thing you should make sure you do before your spelling bee is to fully understand all the rules and regulations. You can also tailor your studying more towards your specific spelling bee based on resources that the organizers might put out. It can also help to alleviate any stress or anxiety about the event to fully understand what to expect.
Since spelling bees are a vocal activity, it might be a good idea to take some lessons on public speaking or read some books or articles on the topic. While a spelling bee isn’t exactly public speaking, it is something to be aware of. Sometimes our brains can choke up when they are in a new or unfamiliar situation, so just take some time to make sure that standing on a stage in front of a bunch of people isn’t going to make you choke up. You want to be able to use the information you’ve learned, so make sure you are prepared in all aspects.
How to Memorize Words for a Spelling Bee?
Memorizing words can only get you so far, but it is a good place to start. A great way to start memorizing words is just to read more. Being an active reader and taking note of any word that you stumbled over or didn’t immediately understand the spelling or meaning of can help you focus your studying as time goes on.
One of the most common ways that people study for a spelling bee is by having a list of words that they need to learn each week. This is a great practice to get into and a great place to focus on memorization. Unfortunately, memorization isn’t the easiest thing for most people, so trying to understand the roots of the words is more likely to be helpful in the long run since you don’t know which words the bee will test you on.
We all know that there are spelling rules for the English language, but they always have a multitude of exceptions. While these rules may not be hard-and-fast rules, they can be a very useful starting point. On the topic of memorization, it is a good idea to learn all the rules of spelling for the English language and to memorize the exceptions.
One thing to think about is why each word is an exception. For many words, they are an exception to the rule because they come from a different root or originated from a different language than other words that follow that particular rule. We’ll talk about this a little bit more later on, but starting to learn the etymology of words, or where they come from, can be really helpful with understanding all the exceptions to rules.
What is the Best Way to Study for a Spelling Test?
The best way to study for a spelling test or spelling bee is to learn more about the words and their roots. This might seem silly, but there are rules for how words are spelled based on their root. The challenge becomes that the English language has words with roots from so many different places, each of which abides by their own rules.
The best spelling bee preparation tip for beginners would be to begin to understand Latin and Greek roots. These are the most common base languages that English words are formed from, and understanding them can be really helpful if you come across a word that you’ve never seen before. Being able to ask the etymology of a word, or where it is from, during the bee can give you a better idea of how it might be spelled.
Here is a great video if you are interested in the etymology of the words you are learning. This is super useful for some people but doesn’t always click as well for others, so don’t be discouraged if etymology doesn’t work for you.
Another great way to prepare for a spelling bee is to invest in a good spelling bee dictionary. The Scripps National Spelling Bee uses the Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary, so that’s always a good choice to start with. As boring as it might seem, reading through sections of the dictionary is a great way to start to notice patterns in the spelling of words. Understanding both patterns and etymology puts you well along the path of being able to spell a word that you’ve never heard before.
What is the Fastest Way to Memorize Spelling Words?
The fastest way to memorize spelling words will depend on the person. For some people, associating words with other things, like smells or tastes, is a great way to help them memorize anything. It helps them to associate the words and the act of recalling the spelling with the smell or taste they experienced when they were learning the words.
Other people memorize beats or song lyrics easier than other things, so for them, it might be helpful to give the words a beat. Things with a beat or rhythm tend to stick better in many of our minds, and learning to use this to your advantage is a great hack for memorizing words, or anything else for that matter.
How Do You Practice Spelling Bee Words?
You can find spelling bee practice tests online, but the best way to practice spelling bee words is in a similar situation to how you will have to remember them. During a spelling bee, you will be standing on a stage, talking into a microphone, and in front of a crowd of people. All of these things are nerve-racking in their own way, so it’s a good idea to practice the whole thing altogether.
Sitting down and taking a practice test on paper is great when you’re starting out, but you won’t have the quiet or the time associated with a test, and you will be required to think on your feet. Make sure that you practice your spelling bee words in all sorts of situations since that will help you learn to zone out distractions and focus on your task at hand.
5 Fun Ways to Memorize Spelling
This game is geared at younger elementary school-aged kids, but you can find spelling related games for all ages. While this is a physical game, there are also plenty of online games or mobile games that you can get to make quizzing yourself fun. While not all of the spelling related games out there are made specifically for you to use to study for a spelling bee, most can be used as a spelling bee practice game.
The Scripps National Spelling Bee Instagram page has a word of the week. For that word, they give you a fun fact and tell you about the meaning, pronunciation, and etymology of the word to help you remember it better. These are great words to start to add to your repertoire of words.
Take it slow
A great option for memorizing words is to take it slow. This calendar is a great place to start since you are only responsible for one word per day. Studying over time can make memorizing new words fun and minimize how overwhelming it can potentially become.
This might seem obvious, but finding a good way to quiz yourself is essential. Like we’ve said before, it can be helpful, especially closer to the actual spelling bee, to be quizzed aloud in a setting more similar to the actual event, but sometimes it is easier to start off with written quizzes. There are tons of resources for students and parents out there, but you can also ask your teacher if they have any good quiz resources for you to use.
The Scripps National Spelling Bee even has its own app called Word Club that has a good amount of quizzes for you to use. For some people, being able to have a study option on their phone is super useful, so if you like to study in whatever little bits of free time you find throughout your day, this might be a good thing for you to look into.
Read, read, and read some more
Reading is a great way to get exposed to new words. Make sure you are an active reader, and you pay attention to any new words you come across when you’re reading. Take note of these words and use them in your next quiz or a list of words to learn. Reading is also a great way to make studying seem a little less boring, so make sure you find time to read!
Wrapping Things Up: How to Study for a Spelling Bee
You can study all you want, but if you aren’t enjoying yourself, you aren’t nearly as likely to remember anything you studied, so make sure to keep your studying interesting. Studying for a spelling bee takes lots of hard work and dedication but is achievable so just keep working. If you feel yourself getting discouraged, maybe try taking a break from your schedule for a few days and just reading. This will give you a break while still exposing you to new words through your reading. It might help you come back with more motivation!
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