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


 5 minute read

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.

CAPS Worksheets South Africa

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.

CAPS Practice Exams South Africa

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.

South African CAPS Practice Exams

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.

Practice Exams South Africa

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.

South African CAPS Worksheets

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.

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About the Author

Aiden is the Digital Marketing Specialist at Learning Lab Apps, the company that develops WorksheetCloud. He is a creative at heart, and loves to add a different spin on everything he designs.


  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 ?

  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 🙂


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