8 Top Tips To Help Your Child Prepare For Exams
April is a curious month. The first evidence of Spring and a few coat-free days fill us with optimism, topped off with yummy chocolate eggs. But for many, it’s also the realisation that exam season is almost here.
Up and down the country students are burying themselves in books and revision notes. For some, it’s a progress check, but for others, the next few weeks have the potential to shape their futures. It can be incredibly stressful for students and parents. So, here are a few tips on how to make their journey easier:
1. Remind them that it’s about being their best
Tell them not to compare themselves to anyone else, or worry about whether their friends will do better or worse.
They can only control what they can do and the competition is with the exam paper and not their friends. They just need to focus their energy on being the best that they can be.
2. Preparation is key - and you can help
Ex-England rugby player, Jonny Wilkinson said, “Great players and kickers are great because they’ve done fantastic amounts of great practice.”
It is a simple fact that the more you practice, the more confident you feel and the better you perform. Being well prepared also means you feel less stressed when you get into the exams.
Help them to create a study plan that they can commit to, well in advance of the exams, so that they can avoid the stress of having to cram at the last minute.
Scored the winning drop goal in the 2003 Rugby World Cup Final
3. Encourage short bursts of effort
Practice isn’t about the time you spend, but the effectiveness of that time.
Plytime Learning’s research with MMU proved beyond doubt that 15-minute sessions were significantly more effective than 45 minutes. It’s all down to optimum concentrate spans and making the best use of your time. Think of athletics where the world record for men’s 4x100m relay is 36.84 seconds versus the 400m record 43.03 seconds.
Encourage them to have short regular, focused bursts of effort and they will be able to achieve more.
4. Practice exam conditions
Arsenal football coach Mikel Arteta was quoted as saying before his team’s recent clash with Liverpool, “You cannot train the players in the zoo and then go to the jungle on Sunday.” In other words, they need to practice in the conditions they are going to face.
So, maybe suggest they practice using a timer, remove distractions and avoid shortcuts or assistance that won’t be there in the exam.
5. Build in some downtime
Leading up to exams shouldn’t be all work and no play, but a sensible balance to get to the right place at the right time.
If you help them to create a good revision plan and stick to it, you can build in plenty of downtime. Encourage them to get outside for some exercise. This can really help as it releases endorphins, which have been shown to improve memory and boost brain-building hormones.
Having a sensible amount of downtime isn’t a cop-out, but an essential part of exam preparation.
6. Remind them it's ok to seek support
If they’re struggling with a topic or concept, try speaking to someone who can help them – such as a friend, family member, a teacher, or even a tutor. They can help them to see things from a different perspective and aid understanding.
Everyone needs help at some time. It isn’t an admission of failure, and it will greatly reduce stress to seek additional support when they need it.
7. Encourage them to stay positive
Building up to exams can be a long process, so it’s important to stay positive and avoid letting set-backs disrupt them.
As the days and weeks go by, encourage them to reflect on how much they’ve achieved.
If an exam doesn’t go as well as they had hoped, tell them not to worry about it. When it’s passed, there’s nothing they can do about it. So rather than worry, remind them to put their efforts into doing their best on the next one instead.
8. Celebrate their best
Henry Ford once said, “Believe in the best… have a goal for the best, never be satisfied with less than your best, try your best, and in the long run things will turn out for the best”.
When the exams are over, and they look back knowing they’ve tried their best, it’s time to celebrate before looking forward to their next challenge.
I hope our tips are helpful for you and your child.
And if you’re looking for primary maths practice and support then Plytime Learning is here to help. Join our free Target 250 competition with prizes available for students and their schools, or alternatively contact us for a free consultation and we’ll happily discuss your needs with you.