We all “know” how to study – sit down and start going through your work. But it’s not as simple as that, is it?
With the exams upon us, I thought it would be a good idea to ask a teacher for some study advice and tips for parents.
Here are 11 essential study tips you should know and remember as a parent, compliments of Adele Keyser, Grade 4 teacher at Edgemead Primary School.
1. Determine what type of learner your child is
Visual, auditory or kinaesthetic? Don’t know what these terms mean? Well you should, because your child will generally fit into one or two of these learning categories. Understanding what type of learner your child is can help you help them. Take our FREE online quiz here to find out exactly what type of learner your child is (it’ll only take 5 minutes).
2. Find a study method that suits your child
Drawing mind maps, colour-coding important information, creating flashcards, listening to pre-recorded notes and watching slide presentations with relevant notes, are some ideas you should try with your child.
He or she might not benefit from using all of these methods, but through some trial and error, you’ll find a study method that your child feels very comfortable using. And as soon as your child is comfortable with studying, you’ve already won half the battle.
3. Provide a space to study
Some children need to move around while studying, and others need a quiet sanctuary with a desk.
If your child moves while studying, don’t keep them holed up in a tiny room. Make sure that the area they use is available whenever they need to study, even though it may be an inconvenience for you to forgo your lounge or dining area for a while (or often!).
If your child prefers the solitude of their bedroom, it is not advisable that he or she learns on their bed.
4. Organise work before starting to study
Before studying, make sure your child understands the work to be studied. Break it up into smaller sections and make sure notes are organised and accessible. We’ve written an easy-to-follow guide on how create a study schedule.
5. Set a study time span
Determine a time span that your child is able to concentrate and study for. 20 – 25 minutes is preferable, maybe less for a younger child. Set a timer for this – a kitchen timer works wonderfully.
When time is up, ask your child a few questions to determine if what has been learnt has been retained. You can also set a short test (or take a look at WorksheetCloud – it saves you time by giving you online and downloadable tests with memos, all based on the CAPS curriculum).
Once you’re satisfied, let your child continue with the next section of work. Some children find it beneficial to study the same sections of work over and over, during the course of a few days, until they know it very well.
A once-off study session is never conducive to successful marks.
6. Create a timetable
Draw up a study timetable that is visible and realistic so that your child knows what is expected of them on a daily basis. This is a non-negotiable, and you as the parent have to be strict about this. Remember, you are the adult!
7. Teach how to make sacrifices
Children must learn how to prioritise life, especially during exam time. Teach your child that it’s a part of life to make some sacrifices to gain a good result.
8. Be prepared to make your own sacrifices
As a parent, you’ll need to learn to make sacrifices of your own. Before and during the exams, don’t book time away. Eliminate as much stress as possible by creating an environment conducive to effective learning.
Be available for your child, motivate and encourage them, and make sure that there are power snacks available and that they have plenty to drink. A good night’s sleep is also very important.
9. Empower your child
Help your child be prepared so that when they walk into an exam situation they are in control and confident. Make sure they have all the relevant stationery they need.
10. Remember that each child is different
Reflect on your child’s individual needs. Don’t be influenced by society, and don’t be afraid to ask your child’s teacher for advice.
11. MOST IMPORTANTLY: Your child needs you
You’d be disappointed if your child did poorly during an exam. Likewise, make sure you don’t disappoint your child by being disorganised and unprepared. Again, you’re the adult and you are ultimately the person your child is going to look to as a role model.
Always be prepared and organised. Pre-plan meals (freeze them if necessary – takeaways are not a good option during exams), make sure you drop your child off at school on time, and create a calm, supportive environment at home.
What study tips do you have for other parents? Share your comments below.