Exam season is upon us! As a parent you may be encountering exam season for the first time (again) and wondering “How can I help my child to prepare for exams?”
Unfortunately there is no escape from this challenging time for families with learners who are in grades 4 to 12. We all have to find a way to push through, most of us will survive, few will be unscathed by the trauma of trying to get your child to sit down and study!
The time pressure, the amount of work, grasping concepts and playing catch-up on sections of work that they are not confident with can culminate in an explosion of stress!
After speaking to a various teachers and parents recently there seems to be a move towards learners having their report results weighted between formal assessments and continual assessments.
This in itself is great, as it can relieve some of the pressure of writing an exam, but the fact remains that the work which is assessed should still be well understood by the child.
Many schools are under pressure to make sure their learners are ready for the next term, the next grade or the next school and therefore the curriculum is covered sometimes at a very fast pace.
Parents are also often quite removed from what their children are learning on a daily basis at school. As kids get older they become even more independent in their schooling. This can create issues between parents and children when suddenly parents are needed to support their exams preparations.
“Before anything else, preparation is the key to success”,
Alexander Graham Bell
How To Help Your Child With Exam Preparation
- Keep a positive, encouraging attitude. If you are feeling stressed about the exams then rather let another adult take the lead in discussing things with your child.
- Make an exam study calendar. Set out a calendar which clearly shows the dates and times of each exam. Then add in your child’s other commitments like sports. Help them select age-appropriate slots where they will commit to study. These should ideally be broken up into 25-30 minute sections.
- Collect and record all the information your child has received about each exam. How many marks is the exam worth? How many questions? Is it multiple choice? How long will the exam be? What content should be covered for the exam?
- Help your child to select which study slots they will dedicate to which subjects.
- Chat to your child about how they feel about each exam. Assess if they feel relatively confident or are feeling worried.
- Help them make a plan and enlist support where needed. It can sometimes be a good idea to get their teacher’s opinion if you are weighing up the needed for extra help.
- Help your child create an attractive, neat and comfortable study zone. It is important that they can study at a desk or table and that the chair is comfortable.
- Lighting is another important factor to consider, especially if they are older and studying at night. Make sure the room is well lit with warm light.
- Their study places needs to be quiet. Perhaps a desk in their bedroom is the best place to study as they can close the door and disappear from the rest of the busy household.
- Make sure your child is have regular bedtimes and encourage them to head to bed at a similar time each evening.
- Limit screens during this brain stretching time and consider removing all connected devices during study times to minimize distractions.
- Encourage them to sit down and study on their own, with a tutor or even with you especially if they are young or are struggling to get going.
- Provide your support by sourcing other study aids. Teacha! Provides an array of interesting learning aids created by educators. This site is an easy way to find material to help your child study. Extra worksheets like this one on The Interior Angles of Polygons can assist your child in revising on the topics they need to study.
- Use fun stationary, whiteboards, colourful paper or post it notes to make the process more engaging.
- Try to get hold of past papers, practice exam papers and tests. These can be a really useful way to become more familiar with the exam process and to test themselves once they feel they are finished studying a section. Sometimes completing a section of a past exam paper can help especially when a learner marks their work with a memo. Check out this useful Grade 5 Afrikaans Taal Test. This is a great resource for your child to test their skills and learn from the ones that they did not know the answers too.
- Create space for your child to destress in the way they find best – perhaps it is a walk with the dogs, perhaps it is a surf or some time enjoying music.
- Offer your practical support by making them healthy snacks
- Have a water bottle on hand to help them stay hydrated!
- Offer your emotional support by being a constant source of encouragement, praise their efforts, their strengths and their commitment. Remember to emphasize that an exam does not dictate their personal self-worth!
“Family: A group experience of love and support”,
Teacha! Is a website that provides teacher produced materials at a low cost. Items range in price from +-R8-R60. Each item can be purchased separately to you can select only those that are useful to your child. There are also no monthly subscription fees.
“Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day in and day out”,
Subjects and worksheets are organized under useful tabs to make it easy for you to find what you need.
They are listed in the following categories.
Foundations Phase which includes Grade R, Grade 1, Grade 2 and Grade 3 are also included on the site
Intermediate Phase which covers Grade 4, Grade 5 and Grade 6
Senior Phase which includes Grade 7, Grade 8 and Grade 9
FET Phase which includes Grade 10, Grade 11 and Grade 12
“Perseverance is the hard work you do after you get tired of doing the hard work you already did.”,
Resources from Teacha! are purchased via their online store, downloaded and easily printed at home.
We hope this has given you some useful tools and some practical ways to make the study season a little less stressful for everyone.
Here is hoping that your family will cruise through and that your child will attain all that they have set out to achieve!