Note book and alarm clock

Left Studying Too Late? Here’s What To Do!

Written by Aiden Delport

Yup it’s happened, your child has left their studying WAY too late, and now you’re in panic mode.

What do you do? Where do you turn?

Don’t worry, just keep reading.

The truth is, children often leave their studying too late. Before we know it, the exams are here and we are the ones who have to play therapist and convince our stressed children that “everything is going to be okay” when in our own minds, even we are doubting that.

But don’t worry, there are things you can do to remedy the situation.

Here are some awesome study tips to help your child get back on the horse and ace the upcoming exams.

1. Focus on what’s important

Consult the exam guidelines that contain the information that they need to study for each specific exam. This guideline they should have received from their school (and if they didn’t, ask them to contact a friend to find out what they must study).

On the exam guidelines they should focus on studying the biggest sections of work first and those sections that the teacher specifically emphasized in class. They should go through their workbook if they can’t remember exactly what the teacher focused on. If they are behind with their study schedule, it is best to make sure that they are studying the important sections of work first, so that they should be able to get as many marks as possible in the exam. Learners often make the mistake of focusing on the wrong things when studying and especially if they have to cram in information because of a shortage of time, they end up not knowing enough content to even pass the exam.

The work they have already studied in previous terms will be easier to recall, even without having studied it again, so these sections can be left for last.

The goal is to be able to go into the exam with as much knowledge on the important sections of work as possible.

Lightbulb in chalk speech bubble

2. Don’t just highlight

Most children have the tendency to want to highlight everything in their notebooks. Don’t get me wrong, colour coding can definitely help your child to remember, as the brain can remember specific sections of text based on colour. However, highlighting words is not in itself an act of studying and it would be far more beneficial to pick up a pen, and jot down keywords on a page while they are studying.

It doesn’t have to look pretty, but the act of writing as one reads helps the brain to remember the work more effectively, as you are combining a visual and written learning style.

They can make use of mind maps, make cards containing key words, or whatever works best for them.

Blue Pink and Yellow Highlighter

3. Brain food

Due to the limited time left to study, your child’s study sessions need to be as effective as possible. It is therefore super important that they have a balanced, nutritional diet during exam time to boost their brain power and make sure that they are firing on all cylinders.

Use the following as a base for your food choices:

  • Protein: Choose seafood, lean meat and poultry, eggs, beans, peas, soy products, and unsalted nuts and seeds. These have all been shown to increase brain power.
  • Fruits: Encourage your child to eat a variety of fresh, canned, frozen or dried fruits rather than fruit juice. If your child drinks fruit juice, make sure it’s 100 percent juice without added sugars. Limit their servings. Look for canned fruit that says it’s organic or packed in its own juices, this will mean that it’s low in added sugar. Keep in mind that one-quarter cup of dried fruit is the same as one whole cup of fruit. When consumed in excess, dried fruits can contribute unnecessary extra calories to your diet.
  • Vegetables: Serve a variety of fresh, canned, frozen or dried vegetables. Aim to provide a variety of vegetables, including dark green, red and orange, beans and peas, starchy and others. When selecting canned or frozen vegetables, look for options lower in sodium.
  • Grains: Choose whole grains, such as whole-wheat bread, oatmeal, popcorn, quinoa, or brown or wild rice. Limit refined grains such as white bread, pasta and rice.
  • Dairy: Encourage your child to eat and drink fat-free or low-fat dairy products, such as milk, yogurt, cheese or fortified soy beverages.
While studying, having some gummy candy such as jelly tots, wine gums or liquorice to chew on can also improve concentration. These must obviously be consumed in moderation, but the act of chewing acts as a good distraction and is an outlet for frustration, especially for aesthetic learners.

Food layed out on a wooden tray

4. WorksheetCloud

Not to blow our own horn or anything, but WorksheetCloud is by far the most comprehensive and effective study and revision tool on the South African market.

With WorksheetCloud your child can study with printable and interactive practice exams that are 100% aligned with the South African CAPS system. The system is designed to maximize your child’s learning from the least amount of study time and offers immediate feedback on their results, showing them exactly where they went wrong and explaining why.

You are also able to track your child’s progress from a simple, easy-to-read dashboard. Sign up here!

WorksheetCloud Interactive Exam Revision

5. Don’t multitask

Multitasking is a challenging thing to do, even at the best of times. Mix in the stress of study deadlines, and multitasking becomes a big NO NO!

It is important that your child doesn’t try to chop and change between subjects / sections, as this will clutter their mind and make it very hard to take in information. They should rather focus on one subject / section per study session, which will increase the chances of absorbing that particular set of information effectively.

Boy sitting on couch reading

6. Rest up

There’s a common misconception that when there’s a study deadline, the best way to approach things is to cram your learning into a 4 to 6 hour study session. This is the exact opposite of what your child should be doing. Rest is a vital part of the learning process.

It is far better to have a focused study session of 30 minutes, than to have a crammed session of multiple hours. Split up your child’s studying into short bursts, with 10 to 15 minute breaks in between.

Also ensure that they get a good night’s rest before the big exam. In the morning, tell them to think over the information that they learnt the previous day (even if they do this while brushing their teeth). Most likely they will be surprised to find that a lot of the information that they studied is easily recalled. The brain thrives when it receives the appropriate amount of rest.

Grey Kitten Sleeping

Exam time will always present its fair share of challenges, but embrace the challenge and take it one step at a time.

Keep a cool head, and remember that your trusty pal WorksheetCloud is always here to help you along the way.

Are you facing any challenges when it comes to your child’s studying? Post your comments, suggestions and questions below. I personally read and answer every comment.

The Author - Aiden Delport

Aiden heads up our design department and is in charge of making WorksheetCloud look great. He also forms part of the product team in charge of developing new features. His top skill - making a mean cup of tea!

WorksheetCloud is the most exciting way to study for exams and tests!

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  1. Crystal Paulse

    Hi I was SO happy to read your blog today. I am adjusting to being a widow and my son is 15 and in Gr 9. And yes, he has left studying for Term 2 to the last minute! Your blog today has been SO helpful, as is the entire WorksheetCloud programme. It is SO very very helpful! Thank you SO much this has given me hope that all is not lost!

    • Kayleen Olivier

      Hi Crystal

      Thanks so much for your comment on our latest blog article!

      We are so glad to hear that you found it useful and that it was able to give you some hope during the daunting exam period. We really appreciate your feedback on WorksheetCloud, so we have sent you an email as we’d love to hear more from you.

      Please let us know if there are any other useful topics we could cover in our blog, we’d love to hear your ideas!

      The WorksheetCloud Team 🙂

  2. Nafisa

    Hi, thank you so much for the helpful Blog. My son as usual has left his studying for the very last minute ?
    After reading up Your advice and tips I feel there is hope.
    Thank you so much .

    • Kyle Roets

      Hi Ayan

      Thanks for your comment!

      We are glad to hear that you found this article useful. Please let us know if there are any other blog topics you would like for us to cover in the future.

      Kyle ?

      • Claire Eden

        As usual this granny has her grandchild in afternoon’s and studying in not Jonathan’s strong point🙈 this granny has been doing it all wrong as l tend to read the work to Jonathan over and over then ask questions ~that’s not working, thanks for tips and advice from now on I’ll let him make notes and follow your suggestions. Jonathan is in grade 10
        Thank you so much and all help is appreciated (he’s in an afrikaans school so this ouma sukkels with the language)

    • Yolande

      I struggel with a grade 7 and grade 5 to catch up and study wiyh them both after coming home from work. Still have to cook ect. They have so much homework and then to check that and then still have to sit and help to study seems like a 5 to 6 hour project, which means if I start at 6 when I get home they will only go to bed at 11 or 12. Obviously this is not feasible. Should I skip checking homework and be fixed on learning the days work to ensure they understand it? Seems to be the solution for me.

      • Ross Frank

        Hi Yolande, thanks so much for your comment!

        It’s always better to consider quality over quantity. By this I mean that your child should be learning the foundations of a subject and understanding it, before doing multiple activities. Practice does improve results but I do agree with you that learning to try to teach your kids is of utmost importance.

        I hope this helps. Please also let us know if there are any other blog topics you would like us to cover in the future or if you have any questions regarding our content.

        Ross 🙂

  3. Nicky de Jager

    Ditto with my Grade 7 daughter leaving studying to the last minute. Exams begin on Monday and I am panicking worse than she is. Yikes. Reading your post definitely helped.

    • Kyle Roets

      Hi Nicky

      Thanks for your comment!

      We are glad to hear that you found this article useful. Please let us know if there are any other blog topics you would like for us to cover in the future.

      Kyle ?

  4. Melody

    Hi all,

    I must say your newsletters etc. are extremely helpful! However,
    I have a problem & I need your assistance please … my son is 10
    years old, currently in Grade 4. He has ADHD & doesn’t seem to
    worry about school work or tests or exams. He is not motivated
    to “get things done”. As much as I try to speak to him, try motivate
    him, even shouting or punishment isn’t working either. He just does
    not feel that the work is urgent & he needs to get things done.
    Please help!

    • Ross Frank

      Hi Melody! Thanks for your message! There are a few questions that arise: 1. Has he been diagnosed by a psychologist and have they recommended treatment? 2. Is he on this treatment? If he is on treatment and he is still not motivated or interested then it might be useful to have them re look at his current treatment. Also, maybe look into other factors that might contribute to this behavior? Is there something happening at school that demotivates him? Bare in mind that grade 4 is a huge adjustment for children, from 4 subjects he is now doing 6. There is a jump in workload and it might be too much to handle. My advice is to have a chat with him about what he is struggling with and if that fails, take him to a specialist to assist you. I hope this helps.

      Ross 🙂

  5. Tholiwe Msweli

    My son is 14 and he hardly studies. He is easily distracted. He failed 1st and 3rd term. I am very worried about him. What can I do to help him to concentrate. He is easily distracted. He likes playing games a lot.

    • Ross Frank

      Hi Tholiwe, thanks for your comment!

      It can be very frustrating when you are trying to get your child to want to learn and that becomes the biggest hurdle.

      You should try creating a timetable for him, allowing him some structure. This structure should help him concentrate more and you can monitor and assist him. Balance is the most important, he needs time to rest and play his games, but he also needs to sit quietly and study. I hope this helps.

      Please let us know if there are any other blog topics you would like for us to cover in the future or if you have any questions regarding our content.

      Ross 🙂

  6. Helen Wurz

    Hi, this blog has definitely been very helpful indeed.

    My son is now facing the last hurdle, Term 4 exams, he’s in GR 8.

    In the blog it mentioned focused study session time of 30min, my question is, for how many hours a day is advisable for studying?

    I’ve seen that if it’s longer than a specific time he loses interest and starts fidgeting which inevitably leads to him losing concentration and me ending up scolding…

    Also point 5 (Don’t multi-task) – should we just stick to 1 subject a day OR can we do 2 subjects if the study material is not so much on say a specific subject…

    Many thanks again for all your excellent tips, it’s really awesome.

    P.s. They have received a “What to Study” list from their school which is extremely helpful.

    • Ross Frank

      Hi Helen, thanks for your comment on our blog!

      As you have mentioned that he struggles to study for long periods of time, I would suggest that he has a study timetable of 4 half an hour sessions with a 15 minute break in between. This will help him focus during the 30 minutes he sits with his work. 2 subjects should be fine as it also provides variety.

      You can give him a book where he can write down study points for himself based on his content. You can then monitor this book.

      I hope this helps.

      Ross 🙂

      • Stephanie Helen

        Hi Ross

        thanks so much for the feedback.

        Is 2hrs study time per day enough though?

        What would you suggest would be the maximum hours that can be put in?
        Don’t want him to burn out…

        Want to make sure that he optimizes the study time that’s been provided…

        Thank you, awaiting your feedback.

        Kind regards

        • Ross Frank

          Hi Helen! Since he struggles to concentrate already, maybe start him off with 2 hours and work up to 3 hours.

          I would think that would be long enough after school. Remember, balance is everything. He should have constant breaks, but also monitor that he is in fact studying. I hope this helps.

          Ross 🙂

  7. Wendy Mogale

    Thank you Worksheet Cloud. My son is 13 years old in Grade 6 and he is a Lockdown learner. Thank you for the newsletters and fruitful information, this is extremely helpful!
    We have an exam breakdown from his school and all the worksheet from worksheet cloud;-) are helpful. He has gain confidence in his academics.

    • Ross Frank

      Hi Wendy, thank so much for your comment on our blog!

      I’m super happy to hear that you found our blog useful and that your son has gained some confidence in his academics!

      Please let us know if there are any other blog topics you would like for us to cover in the future or if you have any questions regarding our content.

      Ross 🙂

  8. Lucia

    Absolutely LOVE worksheet cloud. You guys are the best. Not only do you provide a very usable (and fun) format online, but your consistent emails really taking parents’ role in our children’s education is truly heartwarming. I just wanted to take the time to send a big shout out to the team. Keep it up, you guys ROCK!

  9. Candice

    HI WSC, thanks for the awesome work that uploaded – I am a mom to 3 girls, 2 of whom are in grade 4 and 5 – my dilemma is – my girls want to study to music – does this work – when i studied everything had to be silent – I want them to enjoy the studying experience – is studying to music a thing? Regards CJ

    • Ross Frank

      Thanks for your comment Candice!

      I hear you… Listening to peaceful instrumental music while studying can help, but not music that has lots of singing or rapid tunes in it. It can become very distracting as kids end up singing along to it while studying.

      However, studies show that music that is soothing and relaxing can actually help students to beat stress or anxiety while studying.

      During long study sessions, music can aid endurance. In some cases, students have found that music helps them with memorization, likely by creating a positive mood, which indirectly boosts memory formation. You might want to try putting on some peaceful audio tracks to create some ambiance in your child’s study space. We have some awesome FREE ones available here –

      You might also want to take a look at our blog below on ‘How to create the ultimate study space’ that will provide you with even more useful hints and tips that you could use for your daughters:

      I hope this helps.

      Ross 🙂


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