If you’re reading this it probably means that the June exams are near. It can be a scary time for your child, especially if they aren’t the “study type”.
But don’t worry, that’s exactly why I made this video and wrote this blog post.
Here are 8 practical, simple tips to help your child prepare and conquer the upcoming exams.
Let’s dive right in!
Tip #1 – Be the organizer
It all starts with you, the parent.
Exams don’t sit very high on most children’s priority lists (they sure as heck didn’t sit high on my priority list back when I was at school). Being the adult, you therefore need to lead by example.
Sit down with your child and have an honest, open discussion. Ask them how they’re feeling about the upcoming exams, if they’re worried about anything, and where they feel they need the most help. The more information you have upfront, the better! It’ll help so much when it comes to planning their study schedule.
Once you’ve had a proper chat with them it’s important that you then ask to see their school notebooks to ensure that their notes are complete and ready to study from. One of the most common studying hurdles is incomplete study notes. It can really stuff everything up.
Compare your child’s school notebooks to the exam outlines given by their school. You’ll quickly spot if there are any gaps in their notes. If you notice gaps, arrange for your child to get the missing notes from a classmate, or contact their teacher directly to get the notes from them.
Tip #2 – Create a study plan
“He who fails to plan, plans to fail.”
Do you know who said those wise words? Neither do I, but they are indeed very wise and true words.
Every successful endeavor starts with a great plan. To prevent cramming (which you REALLY don’t want to do), don’t leave studying until the last minute. Cramming, where you try to study all of your work in a short space of time doesn’t benefit long term memory retention at all.
Start simple. Look at a calendar and count how many weeks there are during the school term. If you don’t know the term dates, just Google it. Then look at your child’s exam timetable to see how many weeks the exam period is. Do a quick calculation using this formula:
Total term weeks – Exam weeks = Number of weeks before exams
BOOM! You now know exactly how many weeks your child has available to study for their exams.
Now to create the study plan!
The study plan should be balanced so that your child has enough time to study all of their work for each subject thoroughly. This will definitely boost their exam performance and results. In order to get this right, enough time needs to be given to fit all of this studying in. Again, this is why your planning shouldn’t be left to the last minute. Start planning ASAP!
Using a combination of your child’s school timetable, the number of weeks available for studying and how much content your child needs to study, you can begin creating a study timetable to ensure that they have sufficient time to summarize their work, as well as study their summaries. Work backwards from each exam date. It’ll make life so much easier!
There are two very important aspects to studying:
- Making revision notes / summaries
- Studying those notes / summaries
Split each subject into sessions for creating summaries, and sessions for studying those summaries. I cannot overstate the importance of having proper study notes.
During each study session, your child should study the bits of work that they struggle with first while their brain is fresh and alert, and then move on to the pieces of work that they are good at.
To help you with your study plan creation, we’ve made some awesome free study plan templates which you can download here.
Tip #3 – Review the study timetable as a family
I bet you’ve never thought of doing this before.
The critical element that will determine whether or not your study plan works is getting your child’s buy-in, making sure that they feel that they have a voice during this whole process.
Once you’ve finished creating the study timetable, review it as a family, taking into account every family members personal calendars and commitments. Ensure that the study timetable is realistic and that personal commitments you intend on making are also realistic in terms of focusing on priorities. For example, is a night out at the movies really more important than time spent studying?
There will probably be some changes that will need to be made to the study timetable once you’ve received everyones input, but this is a very important part of the process, especially for your child. This enables them to feel that they are in control and encourages them to take more responsibility.
Tip #4 – A peaceful study space
Effective studying isn’t just about having the best notes, study summaries and plans. It’s also about being in the right mindset for learning. Having a clean, quiet study space definitely plays a big part in successful studying. Set up a clean, tidy space in a quiet part of your home for your child to use while studying. Eliminating all distractions is vital.
But what if your home is a noisy home, or is too small to find a perfect, quiet corner? No worries. Pop a set of headphones onto your child’s head and play some peaceful, ambient sounds to block out surrounding noise.
We’ve created some beautiful, peaceful audio tracks to help you out. Click here to download them.
Tip #5 – Identify your child’s learning style
Every single child has a unique learning style. Some learn better through hearing things, others through seeing things, and others through actually doing things.
Knowing your child’s learning style off the bat will make their studying so much easier as you’ll be able to customize their study material into a format that is best suited for them.
We’ve created a quick 2 minute quiz to help you identify your child’s unique learning style. You can take it for free right here.
Tip #6 – A balanced diet
Don’t discredit the big role that your child’s eating habits play in their learning ability. Make sure that they have a balanced mix of the 5 major food groups each day: proteins, fruits, vegetables, grains and dairy.
Try to limit their intake of foods with added sugars such as brown sugar, corn sweetener and corn syrup. Also limit their intake of foods with saturated and trans-fats such as red meat, chicken and full fat dairy products. These foods don’t help with concentration, so be mindful of the quantities of these foods that your child is consuming, if they are consuming them at all.
Next time you’re thinking about study snacks, think of some healthy options.
Lastly, make sure your child drinks lots of water. Staying well hydrated keeps their brain alert and ready to learn at all times.
Tip #7 – Rest and exercise
You may think that your child should spend every waking hour preparing for exams. News flash, they really shouldn’t!
Sufficient rest and a good exercise routine is a vital part of keeping your child study-ready.
Depending on your child’s age, studying in 20 to 30 minute intervals with 5 to 10 minute breaks in-between is definitely more beneficial than studying for extended periods of time with no breaks. Your child’s mind needs regular breaks in order to function at its maximum capacity. The number and length of breaks will depend on your child, so keep trying until you find the right combination.
Also ensure that your child gets sufficient rest each night. Anything between 8 to 10 hours depending on your child’s age.
You’ve no doubt heard about the numerous physical health benefits of regular exercise, but have you ever stopped to think how it can affect your child’s mental performance?
Aside from providing a well needed break from marathon study sessions, when our bodies engage in movement it triggers the release of various hormones and chemical compounds. These hormones and compounds all have very important effects on various brain functions, including increasing concentration, and releasing frustration.
Let your child play some ball outside or take them for a walk around the block. It’s a great way to not only spend some quality time with them, but also to help keep them happy and mentally alert.
Tip #8 – The right tools
You know that exciting feeling you get when you walk down the stationery aisle in Typo, because let’s be honest, who doesn’t love stationery? That’s exactly how your child feels when they start their exams with a fresh set of pens, pencils, erasers and everything else stationery related. These don’t have to be expensive items. Simply having the right tools for each exam will boost your child’s confidence levels and help them to smash their way through the next exam period.
You’ll also need some practice exams that your child can complete after they’ve studied. It will help you to identify whether or not there are any areas that your child needs more studying and practice in, and will give your child more confidence as they start getting more and more questions correct during their practice.
WorksheetCloud is the perfect tool for just that! Click here to learn more about how WorksheetCloud can help your child learn and practice for their next exam.
I hope that these tips help both you and your child to conquer the upcoming exams.