5 Revision tips to help your child conquer exam anxiety

Exams are part and parcel of every student’s education; they’re used to gauge a student’s understanding of a subject and their ability to solve problems within a certain time limit. The preparations before an exam can be a long and arduous process, so it’s not uncommon for students to flounder and lose focus when they attempt to revise for one.

It’s therefore understandable that your child might be apprehensive about the prospect of an exam as they have been conditioned to think of them as very unpleasant experiences, even though they are essential milestones in their learning journey. As parents, it’s important that we help them to study and do their revision optimally so that they are fully prepared.

Here are five pointers that can guide you on how to help your child to study effectively before attempting their next exams.

Take an Active Interest

It means a lot to your child when you’re actively participating in their efforts at revision.

To start doing so, you should first find out what exactly is expected of them. One way to do that is to check out the exam syllabus and schedule, or source for some practice papers and their marking schemes.

Next, encourage your child to make a revision schedule of their own, which they can also use to track the number of days left before the day of their exam. Depending on your child’s progress, you may need to revise this schedule after a period of time.

Every child has a subject that they will tend to do well in, and others that they are naturally weaker at. It’s a good idea to highlight the subjects that require more attention as early as possible, so that they can maximise their revision efforts. If necessary, you can always explore the option of getting additional help from tuition and online classes, such as those offered by Geniebook.

Above all, you should always be encouraging and supportive. Sit with your child to explain concepts that they may not be clear about, or praise them whenever they have done their revision for the day. After all, it is motivational for your child to know that you have their back at all times.

Make Adequate Space for Study

The area set aside at home solely for your child’s studying and revision needs can play a huge role in their success if created with some thought.

Ideally, it should be quiet, with distractions at a minimum. The study table should be of the right height, and the chair comfortable enough to sit on for long periods of time. There should also be enough light for reading, whether it is from a window during the day, or from a table lamp after dark.

Books, papers, and other study material should be neatly arranged on the table and a nearby shelf. Have your child put them away neatly at the end of every study session - they can also set out the material for the next lesson at the same time so that it can begin smoothly.

If possible, you can also affix a blackboard or whiteboard to the wall nearby. This can be of great help in checking timetables and concepts.

Mix and Match Revision Methods

Thanks to ongoing research by scientists and educators over the years, they have come up with several methods of studying and revision, each with proven effectiveness.

Some of the more common ones include:

  • Reading and making notes
  • Using index cards and Post-it notes
  • Video and audio clips
  • Creating connected notes and mind maps

You could try one or more of them and check your child’s progress to monitor their effectiveness. Once you arrive at a method that works well, it is best to stick with it for as long as it remains useful.

Some students additionally find it helpful to use a time management method called the Pomodoro Technique, which is a way of staying focused and mentally fresh as they spend hours to revise.

The Pomodoro Technique involves picking a task and then setting a timer for 25 minutes. Then, the student works on the task until the timer rings. A five-minute break will then be taken, before studying again for another 25 minutes. After four such sessions, they can be allowed a longer break of up to 30 minutes.

Every child has different methods of learning. The sooner you can find one that works, the better.

Instilling Motivation

Motivating your child to succeed in their studies is no small feat, yet it can be approached in different ways, mainly by highlighting the benefits of doing so.

One idea is to remind your child that the more they study and revise, the more confident they will feel by the time they attempt the actual exam. Their own desire to do well will inspire them to work harder as a result. Another method is to set up a reward system based on mutual agreement - it could be something as simple as extra break time after a long study session, or a gift for acing an exam, although some restraint should be exercised for the latter option.

Yet another form of motivation is to use practical examples as a way to communicate the long-term benefits of excelling in one’s studies. For instance, you could use your child’s role models to highlight how education can help them to similarly succeed, or share an example out of your own experiences to demonstrate how the right education has opened doors and provided opportunities for you.

Go Beyond Study and Revision

When helping children to prepare for their exams, parents should remember that there are factors apart from studying that are also worth considering.

A pre-set amount of free time devoted to recreational activities such as video games and hanging out with friends can go a long way towards reducing stress. Being fully rested and recharged, they will be able to return to studying with more vigor afterwards.

It’s also worth taking a look at their diet and sleep schedules. Have them start the day with a nutritious breakfast and follow it up with healthy, balanced meals afterwards. Make sure that they get adequate sleep, and discourage them from staying up too late, even if it’s for additional studying. Occasional exercise is good, too - even a walk around the park will make for a nice change of pace and open up their minds to new approaches in their revision.

Finally, both you and your child should do your best to remain positive. As much as possible, don’t let the preparation for their exams become stressful affairs, and allow your children the space to study on their own. When the time comes, they will step into the examination hall as confident and fully prepared as possible.

At Geniebook, we aim to help all our students excel in their studies, whether they are just starting Primary 1 or counting down the days to their O’ levels in secondary school. Check out our range of learning products, in particular our AI-personalised worksheet generator GenieSmart, or click the link below to take a complimentary strengths analysis today.

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