When studying for the exams, quality trumps quantity. To face any exam with confidence, your child needs a sense of purpose, as well as an effective way to grasp the material. Find out how you can make this happen.
1. Write down exam targets.
A study showed that doing this could give you a 62% chance of fulfilling your goals, while sending a weekly progress report to a third party could increase your likelihood of success to 76%. Note that self-awareness is crucial to goal setting; children should know why achieving their goal is important, and understand exactly what they need to do to meet their targets.
2. Plan study sessions in 30-minute spurts.
Students are thought to learn best during the first 10 minutes of a study session, followed by the final 10 minutes. Despite one’s best efforts, the time in between is usually less efficient, which is why some experts recommend keeping study sessions to 30 minutes at most, followed by a short break. As an example, your child could spend 25 minutes reading a textbook and 5 minutes reviewing the material—i.e. asking questions to ensure one has understood and remembered what he or she has read—before taking a short break.
3. Use a timer.
Unlike a parent, a timer is a neutral and accurate timekeeper. Relying on a timer to track study sessions and breaks can help you avoid additional tension and disagreements during the stressful revision season. An occupational therapist tip: let your child choose a pleasant alarm tone, as some tones can be loud and jarring.
4. Create a cue or routine that is unique to studying.
Many children study in their bedrooms and have problems focusing, as the bedroom is also a place of rest and play. One way to counter this is to turn on a study lamp only for work purposes, so it signals to your child that it is time to focus. The same effect can also be achieved with a classical music or instrumental playlist that is played only during study sessions.
5. Let your child study in the family room.
You can lend moral support and help your child feel less alone by working alongside your child, be it on your laptop or by completing house chores. There is no real need to maintain consistency in terms of a study venue; in fact, a change in environment has been shown to improve a student’s retention ability.
6. Embrace stress.
Stress can be an energising force—if you are not afraid of it. Explain to your children that feeling anxious during a test is normal, and that stress could help them to stay alert and focused, thus improving their performance. One study has shown that participants who believe stress is beneficial are likely to score better during tests.
7. Sleep can boost grades.
At least one study has shown that better sleep at night translates into a better academic performance, especially in maths and languages. Children aged 7 to 12 need 10 to 11 hours of sleep, on average. To ensure that your school-going children are properly rested, aim for a bedtime of 8:30 p.m., or 9:30 p.m. at the latest.