Living / 28 March, 2020 / My Baba

Effective Strategies For Parents To Aid Kids Struggling With Exam Preparation

As exam season approaches, the pressure can mount not just for students but for their parents too. Watching your child struggle with exam prep can be challenging, and it’s natural to want to offer support without knowing exactly how to help.

This article aims to provide practical advice for parents on aiding kids who are finding exam prep tough. From managing stress to optimising study habits, we’ll explore how you can positively influence your child’s exam preparation journey.

Establishing A Productive Study Environment

One of the most effective ways parents can assist their children is by helping to create an environment conducive to studying. A well-thought-out study space can significantly enhance concentration and productivity, making exam prep less daunting.

Tips for Parents:

  • Dedicate a Quiet Study Area: Ensure your child has a quiet, comfortable place to study, away from distractions. This might mean setting up a desk in their room or a specific area in the house designated for studying.
  • Organise Study Materials: Help your child organise their study materials. Having everything they need in one place — textbooks, notebooks, pens, and highlighters — can save time and reduce stress.
  • Limit Distractions: Encourage periods where electronic devices are turned off or put away, especially during intensive study sessions. This includes television, smartphones, and other digital distractions like social media. It might not be a popular choice, but it can be effective.

Breaking Down The Material

Feeling overwhelmed by the sheer volume of material to be covered is a common issue for students preparing for exams. Parents can assist by helping their child break down the material into more manageable segments.

Tips for Parents:

  • Help Create a Study Schedule: Work with your child to develop a realistic study schedule that breaks down the material into smaller topics. Ensure there’s a good balance between different subjects and include regular breaks.
  • Use Study Aids: Encourage the use of study aids such as flashcards, mind maps, or educational apps that can make learning more interactive and less tedious.
  • Practice with Past Papers: Obtain past exam papers or practice questions related to the subjects your child is studying. Working through these can provide valuable practice and help identify areas that need more focus. For example, if your child is preparing for IGCSEs, you should find IGCSE past papers that they can work through. With IGCSE revision support from Save My Exams, you can give your child a huge confidence boost. Going through this material with actual IGCSE exam questions will make a difference.

Help Them To Feel Less Stressed

Exam nerves can hinder a student’s ability to perform to the best of their abilities. Parents play a crucial role in helping their children manage this anxiety, ensuring it doesn’t overwhelm their exam preparation efforts.

Tips for Parents:

  • Encourage Open Communication: Create an environment where your child feels comfortable expressing their fears and frustrations about exams. Listen attentively and offer reassurance that it’s normal to feel nervous.
  • Teach Relaxation Techniques: Introduce your child to simple relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, or gentle exercise. These can help manage stress levels and improve focus.
  • Maintain a Positive Outlook: Keep the dialogue positive and encouraging. Focus on effort rather than outcomes and remind your child that exams do not define their worth.

Promote Effective Time Management

Good time management is essential for effective exam preparation. Helping your child develop these skills can reduce stress and make study time more productive.

Tips for Parents:

  • Create a Study Calendar: Work with your child to outline a study calendar that includes all exam dates, study sessions, and breaks. Visualising their schedule can help them manage their time better.
  • Set Specific Goals: Encourage your child to set specific goals for each study session, such as completing a set of practice questions or revising a particular topic. This can help make their study time more focused and efficient.
  • Teach Prioritisation: Help your child learn to prioritise their study tasks based on urgency and importance. Focusing on more challenging subjects or topics first can improve study effectiveness.

Encourage Healthy Study Habits

Adopting healthy study habits not only improves retention and understanding but can also make studying more sustainable and less overwhelming.

Tips for Parents:

  • Promote Active Learning: Encourage techniques such as summarising notes in their own words, teaching the material to someone else, or creating diagrams, which can help deepen understanding.
  • Breaks Are Essential: Ensure your child understands the importance of taking regular breaks. Short pauses in study sessions can help refresh their mind and improve concentration.
  • Healthy Lifestyle Choices: Stress the importance of good nutrition, adequate sleep, and regular physical activity. A healthy body contributes to a more focused and alert mind, enhancing study capability.

Celebrate Efforts And Achievements

Recognising the effort your child puts into exam preparation and celebrating their achievements, big or small, can boost their morale and motivation.

Tips for Parents:

  • Acknowledge Hard Work: Make it a point to acknowledge the time and effort your child is investing in their exam prep. Recognition of their dedication can be incredibly motivating.
  • Celebrate Milestones: Celebrate milestones throughout the revision period, such as completing a challenging study guide or improving a practice test score, to keep spirits high.
  • Post-Exam Recognition: Once exams are over, celebrate their hard work and persistence, regardless of the outcomes. This can help reinforce the value of effort and resilience.

There’s no getting around the fact that the time around exams is always going to be stressful, especially if your child feels like they are struggling. But there are plenty of practical things that you can do as a parent to make them feel more confident and to remind them that they have plenty of love and support. You can’t take the exam for them, but you can help them get to that big day feeling ready and raring to go.

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