5 revision tips to help your child conquer exam anxiety

Exams are part and parcel of every student’s education, but they can be a major cause of stress for our children. In fact, OECD (or the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development) studied students from different countries and noted comparatively higher levels of stress and anxiety among students from Singapore.

But, there are some ongoing things parents can do all year round to ensure that exam times are not so scary or anxiety-inducing for our children.

Take an Active Interest

When you’re actively participating in your child’s efforts at revision, it can mean the world to them.

To start doing so, you should first find out what exactly is expected of them. One way is to familiarise yourself with the exam syllabus and schedule, or source for some practice papers and their marking schemes. Not sure where to start? We have a library of free exam resources and course material for you to go through with your child.

Next, encourage your child to draw out a revision schedule of their own. Having helped them get a sense of their progress, as well as 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 tends to have subjects in which they enjoy and excel more naturally. So, 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, remaining encouraging and supportive is key. Sit with your child to explain concepts that they may not be clear about, and 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

Having a dedicated area at home that’s solely for your child’s studying and revision needs can play a huge role in their success.

Ideally, it should be quiet, and free of distractions as much as possible. 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 ample light for reading, whether it is from a window during the day, or from a table lamp after dark.

Books, papers, and other study materials should be neatly arranged on the table and a nearby shelf. After every study session, have your child put them away neatly before laying out the materials required for the next session.

If possible, you can also hang a blackboard or whiteboard on a wall near them. 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, many have come up with proven methods of studying and revision.

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 revising.

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

As parents, the call to always remain encouraging and motivating is no small thing. To help your child remain motivated for the entire journey, we recommend highlighting the benefits that studying brings.

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 noting.

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 can return to studying with more vigour afterwards.

It is 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.
 


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