Are you worried parent?
Are you child’s approaching exams scaring you?
As your child watches endless hours of television, chats for unimaginable lengths of time with his friends and sleeps way beyond what you think is acceptable – are you biting your nails and wondering what to do?
Well – reach out to your child.
Children stop studying and escape into the virtual world or the dream world – or while away time sleeping or chatting – when they feel overwhelmed with the amount they have to study.
When children feel like there is too little time and too much to study – they prefer to pretend that they are lazy or that they don’t care. They do this to avoid feeling that they are incapable. They don’t want be called “dumb” because they studied and didn’t manage to do well. They prefer to be called lazy or pretend that they are daredevils.
Can you help your child when he is in this state? Yes you can.
Stop panicking. Calm down. If you do these 15 things you can help your child to prepare for the exams at the last-minute
15 Things you can do to help your child with last-minute study for exams
Remind yourself that no one likes exams
Did you enjoy exams when you were taking them? If you did – you were probably an exception to the rule. For most people – it is difficult to like exams.
Even a student who is extremely well prepared is sure to feel a little scared. And for a student who is not as well prepared as he or she should be – as exams approach – life can feel like living in a nightmare.
Also read – Why is my child not studying for exams?
Don’t keep reminding your child about the terrible things that will happen if he doesn’t study.
Reminding your child how shameful and terrible it will be if he does not perform as expected in the exams is counterproductive.
Your child may look like he doesn’t care or is not bothered by the results of the exam – but that is only how it looks. That is far from reality.
Children are completely aware of the consequences of doing badly in the exams.
It is the fear and the shame of doing badly in the exams that freezes them into inaction and tempts them into embracing virtual routes of escape.
Tell your child that there is no point in worrying about what will happen.
Also read Teach your child not to fear failure
Let your child know that you are on his team and will do everything you can to help him
Sit down with your child and chalk out the best possible way of utilizing the time on hand to perform as well as possible.
This would include analyzing old question papers to see which chapters are more important and ensuring that your child studies at least these chapters well.
This would also include helping your child understand chapters and concepts that he is not able to understand.
Focus on being proactive and working towards making good things happen
Give your child the right perspective on exams
Children often tend to neglect subjects that they are weak in and this is usually their biggest mistake.
With your experience and understanding – explain to your child that exam results are an aggregate percentage of all the subjects in the syllabus.
Spend time explaining how doing very badly in one subject can ruin his overall result – even if he has done extremely well in the other subjects.
Children typically do not understand this – or ignore this fact because they are terrified of studying the subject they are not good at.
Make a timetable for your child to ensure that he studies all the subjects and all the chapters of each subject.
Show your child how to score marks
One of the easiest ways to score marks is by making perfect diagrams, tables and graphs in the exam.
Unfortunately, when children are in a panic about the little time that they have left to study – they keep studying the text and ignore the diagrams and graphs.
By doing this – they not only lose marks – they also annoy the examiner correcting the paper with their untidiness and do not score as much in other areas.
Help your child to revise intelligently
Even children who have studied everything are sometimes not so good at revising what they have learnt before the exam.
Children often keep rereading what they need to study. This makes them feel like they know everything but in the exam they are not able to remember what they have read.
Rereading is a very ineffective way of revising. It is important to encourage children to close the book and try to recall what they have read. That is the only way to truly assess what they have learnt.
Children are often afraid of doing that – but we must ensure that they do it.
Help your child master the Test Taking Techniques
Studying something is not enough to do well in exams. Children need to learn what they actually need to do to present what they have learnt in a way that they get the maximum number of marks.
Using question papers to revise is the best way to score good marks. The way in which information is presented in the text-book – is very different from the way it needs to be put when it is asked in a question in the exam. Using question papers to revise – helps children frame the topic in their minds in the form of answers to the questions – well ahead of the time when they need to put it down on paper. This ensures that they are faster and more confident at the exam.
Defuse the stress as the exams approach
When the exams are 3 – 4 weeks away – children typically panic and are clueless about what to do and how.
It is important at that time – for parents to sit with them and help them to do the last-minute planning in line with the time-table.
In their panic children keep studying for the first few exams and do not revise for the last exams. As a result of not being prepared for the later exams – they are so worried that they can’t perform well in the first few exams either.
Sit with your child and make a study plan according to the time-table.
The preparation should ideally start in the reverse order. Which means that your child must prepare for the last exam first. And the remaining exams in the reverse sequence of how they appear in the time-table.
One revision of this kind should be finished 2 weeks before the exams and in the last 2 weeks a mix of a few chapters of every subject should be done every day so that the child does not panic about having forgotten any subject completely.
Make an effort to make studying less boring
Sitting and studying for long hours can be very boring. Make revision easier for your child by encouraging her to write formulae, theorems, definitions and other points that are easy to forget – in bright colours on chart paper and stick them in her room so that she can revise while walking around.
Make studying interesting
When there is too little time to study and too much syllabus to cover – your child may need to study continuously. To make things interesting for your child – make a schedule such that your child studies a difficult subject for an hour and follows it up with an easy subject for half an hour.
Children in their nervous states are unlikely to be able to come up with such plans. It is important that with our decades of experience we help our children out in these little ways.
Help your child to build concentration
Writing a 3 hour paper with full focus – is not easy for a child. Three hours is a long time and children must slowly build their concentration to reach that level.
Encourage your child to study in 3 hour slots to help practice the intense concentration that is required during your exams which will be of the same duration.
Allow your child to take frequent breaks
Studying for long periods can cause the stress levels to rise terribly for your child. To avoid this – allow your child to take frequent short breaks when he is studying. Doing some physical exercise when he takes a break is ideal.
During the breaks have light conversation with your child so that he can unburden himself and tell you what he is worried about.
Help your child’s brain to function well
During exams your child’s brain must be in top-notch condition. Nutritious food and adequate sleep are the two things that the brain really needs to function optimally. Your child will be too stressed to either eat or sleep
Don’t fight with your child about meals. Keep serving nutritious snacks from time to time Eating nutrient rich meals at regular intervals is the key to remembering all that your child studies. Complex carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins and minerals are all essential. Keep junk food out of the house.
Sleep is just as essential because a tired brain cannot learn and remember like it should. Give your child a peaceful clean space to sleep in. And do not nag him about not doing what he should – just before he goes to sleep.
On the day of the exam reassure your child
Don’t frighten your child on the day of the exam.
Let your child remain calm so that she can read the question carefully and answer to the point.
Thoughts determine action – action determines the outcome. Always remain positive.
Remind your child that a poor result is not the end of the road. Exams are just a sample of life’s challenges. They are designed to prepare you to meet these challenges.
There is no doubt that regular study – with a systematic approach to every subject and lots and lots of practice is the best way to prepare for exams. However, when your child is just a few weeks away from exams – instead of crying about what he/she hasn’t done and drowning in anxiety by imagining extreme situations and worst case scenarios, the smart thing to do is – to utilize the time left effectively and help your child to obtain the best possible score.