Parents who want their children to do well in school but not succumb under the pressure tell their children to “study smart, not study hard”. The truth is studying may not come naturally to some children – they may need help to review and remember key concepts. Or they may feel daunted with the amount of material they need to learn for the exams that they simply do not know how to get started.
Exams can be demoralising and stressful for children struggling academically. If you find that your child needs more help, it always help to speak to their teacher to better understand your child’s strengths and weaknesses and find out how you can support your child at home.
With the year-end examinations coming up soon, we put together some study tips for parents on how you can get involved in helping your child prepare for their upcoming exams.
#1 – Study Groups
Older children may prefer to study together with a few friends. It helps if they could discuss concepts with someone else or ask for help with difficult questions. If you have space at home, allow them to invite friends over so they can study together. You may need to clear the dining table to make space for their books and notes. Everyone in the home will also have to rally behind by not having other guests in the home and not watching tv during this period.
When home is not a conducive place, consider allowing your child to study outside. Some schools open up study rooms until late to allow students to study in school after lessons. Alternatively, there are places where students can ‘rent’ study spaces to mug for their exams.
#2 – Ask them to Explain/Teach
The Feynman Technique was named after the Nobel Prize winning physicist, Richard Feynman, who shared that you could learn anything (and retain knowledge of that subject) when you can explain the new concepts learnt to someone else.
Ask your child to explain what he/she has learnt about the topic to you as if you were his/her student. If they can explain it, it shows that they have understood the material and would also be able to retain the knowledge better.
You can help your child by asking questions about the topic he/she has just reviewed to test their understanding and memory of facts. For example, “what are Newton laws?” “name the factors essential for photosynthesis?”
This exercise will also help your child evaluate his/her own revision progress.
#3 – Mind maps / Drawing
Some children are visual learners. They may need pictures and colours to help them retain new information they have just learnt. With younger children, you can help them to create mind maps or draw simple visuals to help them.
#4 – Practice past year exam papers
Practice makes perfect. It also helps to give your children confidence they need during the exam if they have encounter the same questions before. Help your children get over exam jitters by prepping them with past year exam papers. You can get past year exam papers from a local bookstore or ask school teachers for past year practice papers.
#5 – SLEEP
Most importantly, make sure your child gets enough SLEEP. Make sure your child gets enough rest to help them perform their best during the exam. All the time and effort going into preparation will not help if they can’t think clearly due to a lack of sleep. Sleep is important to ensure their brain has sufficient rest and oxygen.
Above all, remember that each child progress at their own pace. Most children do well when they are confident or have a strong interest in a particular subject. You can boost their confidence by showing your support and interest in what they are doing in school. No matter the results, keep cheering your child on!