The idea of writing exams rarely brings about emotions of excitement and happy anticipation! In fact, feelings of anxiety, panic and outright fear are what most parents and learners experience when exam time comes knocking at their door! Cindy Glass, Director and Co-founder of Step Up Education Centres says “Generation after generation, people have passed on the baton of fear, anxiety and dread when it comes to exams. The stories are familiar to us all:
• You can fail!
• You may ‘go blank’!
• There is just too much work to remember.
• You are writing exams for the first time-good luck with THAT!
The list is frightening and seemingly endless and yet, it does not need to be this at all. Cindy gives these simple tips to consider that will help ensure that the upcoming exams are a healthy and more positive experience for your children.
1. As parents, YOU are your child’s first teacher. You set the tone in your home. Be mindful of not allowing your past fears of exams to influence how you encourage your child now. Embrace exams as an opportunity to learn and grow. Create an atmosphere of excited anticipation, especially if your child will be writing exams for the first time.
2. Get organised! Have a designated area for your child to study. The study area is a no-go zone for cellphones or any other distractions. Before a study session, decide what needs to be covered and how much time is needed. Make sure that all stationery, learning materials and an exam pad are available before the study session begins.
3. Break the exam requirements into bite-size manageable pieces. Tick off completed sections as you go. Celebrate all positive progress.
4. Encourage children to put pencil-to-paper when studying. Learners are seven times more likely to remember new information when they write while studying.
5. Set realistic, achievable goals. Write down goals and put them up on the wall at study area.
6. Cover all the ‘easy-mark’ concepts and skills first. Tackle the more challenging one’s later.
7. Teach your child to do their best. Put in the effort and reap the rewards.
8. Manage any fears and anxiety with positive affirmations. Teach your child to believe in his/her ability to overcome challenges and achieve their goals.
Cindy sums up by saying “As parents, it is your responsibility to set a positive, motivating environment in your home. Steer clear of your own fears and anxieties when it comes to exams. Show a sincere interest in your child’s progress and set an example of positive determination, remembering always that your children are more likely to do what you do, rather than what you say!”