Helping a child to prepare for the exams is no straightforward matter.
By now, you should have your children’s exam syllabus in hand, but that’s the least of it. Unless you are relying heavily on tutors, you will need to guide your children to set up a revision schedule, teach them how to review their textbooks and notes, and source for practice materials that they can use. You may also need to deal with your children’s resistance to studying, while keeping a close watch on their emotional state, to ensure that they’re not experiencing unhealthy stress levels.
Wondering how you can do it all? Read on as we break it down for you, so that you can feel less overwhelmed.
To begin, your child should set some goals for the exam, which is usually a desired score. You can use test scores as a gauge of where your child is currently at, and aim for a small improvement, such as a five-mark increase in a test worth 50 marks. You can also refer to the new Achievement Level scores to set benchmarks for improvement.
>> Read: “Sure-win Ways To Help Your Child Set Goals”
Next up is figuring out what needs to be done to score additional points. For certain subject components, such as oral exams or compositions, assessment rubrics will be helpful. For written papers, here is an approach that tutors often use:
- Start with a practice exam paper. This helps a child to identify areas of weakness or difficulty, in terms of component or topic.
- Use topical or component-specific exercises to work on areas of concern. The best example of this would be an assessment book where practice exercises are grouped by topic.
- Identify areas requiring memory work. Your child would be expected to memorise certain information, such as math formulas and science concepts, in order to be better equipped to tackle questions. By inspecting your child’s practice papers and topical reviews, you can see if this is an area that needs brushing up.
- Work on a practice exam paper, with a time limit. This should be done at least once prior to an exam, as it simulates exam conditions and gives children a fresh opportunity to apply concepts.
Needless to say, a child in a top class will have completely different goals from a struggling learner, so teach your child to set realistic targets. You should also be prepared that while children may find it painless to set goals, they may be far less enthused about doing the actual work. To counter this, you should have some tricks in your bag to help reluctant learners get started. On occasion, work resistance could be a sign of exam anxiety, and you will want to address these worries — find out how a mom has assumed the role of cheerleader and coach leading up to the Primary School Leaving Examination.
Once you and your child have identified the goals and tasks for an upcoming exam, proceed to draw up a revision timetable. Don’t assume that a child knows exactly what it means to “revise” — always clarify the revision tasks that are involved, and how long each task might take, before indicating these tasks on a planning calendar. Also, make sure that your child records his or her other activities, such as co-curricular and enrichment classes, on the planner. You may not want to schedule revision work on days where your child might be physically or mentally exhausted.
>> Read: “What Smart Learners Do (And Don’t Do) When Making Study Timetables”
During the lead-up to the exams, do ensure that your children are getting sufficient rest. At the same time, keep a lookout for symptoms of stress, such as insomnia, and talk to your children if you feel that exam prep is wearing them down. It is true that as parents, we often approach our children from a task- or result-oriented perspective, and it takes a crisis such as a health scare for us to see the bigger picture and appreciate what we have. Take the time to listen to your children’s feelings, and always prioritise their well-being over academic results.
Below, we have compiled a list of 40 primary school resources that students and parents can use for revision. Bookmark our post, but don’t feel that you have to cover everything all at once. Instead, focus on what is most relevant to your agreed-upon goals. Above all, give your children the gift of love and kindness, no matter what results they bring home — that’s what they need most.