Oh exams, the word alone is enough to give children butterflies in their stomachs. As a parent, you want to help your child and, according to educational experts, it’s much easier than you think it is.
“We believe that success can stem from simple everyday attitudes and examples – the learning attitude that your child develops over time and brings with them to the exam hall will directly improve performance,” says Simon Hetherington, centre director at Kip McGrath Education Centres, a specialist in English and maths tuition. Here, the centre offers parents a few tips to aid their study.
• Start their revision early – learning is a long-term skill. A child needs to feel confident in their abilities and develop their skills over the course of a longer period of time.
• Create a positive learning environment outside of school. Make other people in the household aware of the pressure that your child may be under and make allowances for them.
• Make sure your child is staying healthy. Exercise, healthy snacks and breaks from studying will all help clear their mind and focus before the nextrevision session.
• Sleep is important, so make sure that your child is going to bed at a reasonable time and avoid unnecessary distractions such as video games or television late at night.
• Encourage your child to do well for their own sake, not necessarily bribing them to do well. This will make them proud of their achievements and set them up for a better life ahead.
• Teach your child that failure is just a stepping stone to success. No child is automatically good at every subject and, when they get something wrong, they need to react positively in order to succeed in the future.
• Show interest in your child’s work. Simple discussions where your child explains a concept back to you will help their long-term memory.
• Incorporate games into learning as much as possible. Students retain information more with interactive activities and less so with simply reading around a topic. By actively engaging their minds, they retain the most information and are more likely to recall it for an exam.
• Learning and revising shouldn’t be a chore – easier said than done? Research has shown that students who enjoy the subject perform better. This may sound obvious, but does require a change in routines to accomplish.
• Encourage your child to focus on the subjects they know the least – not the ones they find easy.
• In the run-up to exams, create a revision plan that will help your child feel in control of their work, including a timetable with small periods of revision. Stock up on stationary while keeping relevant revision guides, school notes, and practise papers on hand.
• Many students have underlying literacy and numeracy gaps that hold them back from succeeding in other subjects. Many learning centres run an assessment that measures literacy and numeracy levels and can advise you accordingly.
“Above all, a confident student who is interested in their subject will always do well and be less stressed when it comes to taking exams,” Hetherington says. “We conduct a free assessment to find out where the gaps in learning lie, and a personalised learning plan is then put in place to close these gaps over time.”
Well, there you have it mums and dads. Exam time may seem like the apocalypse, but whether it’s your children’s school teachers, their peers or learning centres that help your children to succeed, the hard work will certainly be worth it.
Kip McGrath Education Centre, Second Floor, Al Raha Mall, Channel Street, Al Raha Beach, Abu Dhabi, www.kipmcgrath.ae (02 558 8505).