Updated: May 9
Going through an examination is always nerve wrecking for both the parent and child. When put through an evaluation, it tends to get the blood pressure going or overwork our sweat glands. Our kids taking their first tests probably feel worse, having to deal with anxiety or a range of emotions in a short span of time. Therefore, on top of the concept and theories, familiarizing your child with the exam concept, environment and emotional control can help set your child for success! Here are 5 ways experts have found effective in preparing children for exams:
1) Understanding how your child learns – Learning Style “the VAK way”
VAK stands for Visual, Auditory and Kinesthetic learning style. The VAK theory perspective is that anyone parents or kids learn best through their dominant learning style. You can find out your dominant learning style by doing an online quiz.
Here are the types of learners and the best practice for them to learn effectively:
(a) Visual Learners
Visual learners tend to like either reading and writing practices (visual-linguistic) or demonstrations and visual material such as charts, graphs (visual-spatial).
Best way to learn for Visual Learners:
– Using Graphs or illustrations and visual aids.
– Many coloured highlighters are also common.
– Drawing out the tasks at hand, jotting them down in point form.
– Envisioning what is needed for each topic/chapter.
(b) Audio Learners
Audio Learners are rather different from the other two as they usually speak to themselves and find it challenging to practise writing tasks. They do better through listening to their work through a recorder or even recording themselves, hearing themselves again after to conceptualize their working points.
– Using a tape recorder, mouthing along with it.
– Make your child repeat after you.
– Parents to converse with your child to test them verbally and fill in the gaps of what is missing. Going over those and retesting them to ensure information has been saved
(c) Kinesthetic Learners
A very special bunch of people because these are the experimenters. They do best with physical touch and can be categorized into two. When learning they may lose concentration if there is no external stimulation (kinesthetic). Sometimes during a class they may take notes just for the sake of doing something (touch)
– Learning activities or games to get the brain more stimulated.
– Music may help them learn and conceptualize better
– Using whiteboards for notes or colored markers help them focus
– Guide your kids through a visualization of complex tasks
– Moving forward depending on which type of style your kids are, you can help introduce or continue some of these activities to ensure they learn in the best possible way that is unique to them.
2) Familiarizing your child with the Conditions of Exam
When taking a test or evaluation, it always feels out of your comfort zone even if you are fully prepared. The eerie feeling of an exam hall with pin drop silence is enough to get your child doubting themselves.
Getting your child used to that would be a big bonus. This allows your child to be empowered and feel confident in progressing for their exams verses the opposite.
Here are some ways to familiarize your child to exam conditions:
– Creating the same conditions at home at a dining table preferably where you child is facing no distractions and a time limit to finish.
– Discuss with them how they should section the exam duration with the different sections of the exam
– Give them an outline of what is needed and give them the independence to carry that out on their own.
– If they struggle, ensure there is parental support and that they recognize how to overcome obstacle so that they could repeat that in an exam.
3) Study effectively
These days the kids textbooks get thicker and thicker and when an exam is close kids tend to get lost if they are on their own. They need the extra support of parental guidance and assurance to be present with them to give them that internal strength to continue.
– Focus on the main concept of the subject
– Plan out a schedule of which topic to revise on which days
– Countdown to the actual exam date to instill sense of urgency
– Parenting tip/style: Positive reinforcement always goes a long way
– Give your kids many breaks and make sure they get enough rests as information overload is the last thing you want your kids to experience!
4) Maintaining yours kids and your anxiety
During the prepping phase, it is inevitable that they feel emotional and unmotivated. It is up to our parenting and teaching styles to ensure that they are on the right track.
Here are some parenting tips to motivate a child for exams:
– Positive reassurance, E.g. doing a good job, measuring their positive performances.
– When you spot your child going through a breakdown, ensure to stop it give them the empowerment to deal with it on their own.
– Sometimes kids may feel anger and sadness commonly due to feelings of disappointment or not doing well enough. It is times like these when parents need to instill a can-do attitude and not a must-do attitude.
5) Ensuring they do not exert themselves and rest more
Many times, especially for those taking the Primary School Leaving Examination or GCE O levels, Children start studying for long hours without taking breaks which leads to fatigue and unproductivity. Getting ample sleep helps your brain conceptualize the work you have done as the child catches up on that REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep.
How to ensure the child has enough rest while prepping for exams:
– Taking power naps during the day
– Maintaining a good schedule for the night and accurate sleep time
– Setting a specific time for studying and resting everyday so it becomes a habit
– Start revising early so that they have enough time to space out their revision leading to the exam
These are a few new/different techniques you can try in your kids’ upcoming examinations. Try them and perhaps as a parent, you will not be as anxious for your child.