Helping Your Child Prepare For Exams – Exam Prep 101
The very thought of exams can send shivers down your spine and bring on a mild panic attack. This does not have to be the case, in your child’s life, if you are well prepared. Helping your child prepare for exams can be tough but before going into the preparation stage, it is helpful to understand the reasoning behind the exams.
What is the purpose of sweating it out in an exam room?
- It helps the teacher to assess progress. Exams show the teacher if an individual has grasped new concepts and can answer questions correctly on a given topic.
- Gives pupils an opportunity to revise and consolidate.
- Teaches how to process learned data and respond to set questions
- Revision of papers encourages learning through mistakes after the work is marked papers can be revised.
- Facing exam conditions is part of progressing to the next level of education.
- Encourages responsible study practises and learning skills.
How can parents be a valuable part of this process?
There are three key areas where parents can help with their child’s ability to respond positively to exams. Focus on the mental, physical and emotional health of your child.
- Talk about the exam process with your child. Gear your conversation to the age and grade your child is in and previous experiences.
- Find out from the class teacher where your child may be struggling so you can give extra help in those areas
- Look through past papers if they are available
- Talk about test strategies i.e.: how to pace yourself and tackle difficult questions at the end. Do not waste time on something you don’t know too well. Read over the questions and read the whole paper before starting to plan the order of answering the questions. Use mind maps and key points to help answer questions. These can be submitted with your answer paper if you don’t finish.
- Get the family involved with a quiz time or Q and A sessions.
- Make sure everyone who is studying is getting a good night’s sleep.
- Have healthy food and watch mood spikes with too much sugar.
- Get active in between study times. A walk in the park, cycle or run around the garden – all ways to get energy and stimulate positive endorphins.
- Practise writing skills for legible handwriting
- Prepare a quiet and organised place for studying. Set up the area to be a comfortable place with everything your child needs to study for exams.
- Be reassuring and don’t overwhelm your child with your past war stories of exams.
- Prepare a timetable to guide study times, factor in some fun activities or breaks remember ‘all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.”
- Don’t leave the study time to the day before. The timetable is important.
- Leave time for revision and encouragement
- Don’t set the bar too high. It is wonderful to achieve high marks, but you will know your child and can support the right amount of success through encouragement.
- Set up a buddy system if your child studies responsibly with another child.
- Let your child see you are supportive of the school and the system of exams and are there to help.
Exams have been part of the education system for many years. Helping your child prepare for exams and survive it will definitely let them do their best is the most positive approach. You can motivate the whole family with some encouraging quotes.
“The difference between ordinary and extraordinary is the little extra”
Give your child that little bit of extra support at exam time and be prepared to make this a valuable time for everyone.