Exams and tests can be stressful! The child is expected to read the material, understand it and answer the questions asked about it. It means hours of reading and comprehending the material, a task best taken up as soon as the lesson is done. A lot of children, though (me in my childhood) will wait for a day or two before the exam before studying. There are some time-tested and simple methods you can use to help your child ace their exam. These exam-taking tips are guaranteed to improve your child's scores.
1.Take the medicine in small doses
Children can set aside an hour every day after school to read a lesson at their own pace. This is an excellent daily habit, like brushing one's teeth. One subject per day can be taken up and the portions read throughly. They can try solving the questions at the end of the lesson. These questions are like a test and are most likely to be asked, ergo time answering them is a good idea. The next day, the child can pick up another subject. Through the week a little bit per subject will be done. With each passing day, the child will gain more confidence.
2.Learn more about the lesson
Suppose the Greek Civilisation is the subject of study in school. Encourage children to go online or to the local library and learn more about the Greek Civilisation. There are many wonderful websites that will provide information in an interactive and sometimes informal manner. Duckster.com, Wikipedia, Brittanica.com are some great online resources. Ted Ed is also a great place to have another perspective. The Horrible Science/History/Geography series are informative and funny to read.
3.Layer it up!
Children get better and better at things they practice. Remind the child how they first learned to skate, used the wave board or learned to ride the bicycle? It didn't happen in one go. They had to try it in different ways and then one day, they were sailing. Similarly, if they read and reread the material, the material would stay with them and recalling would be easier. Just like the mortar between the bricks, the study material concepts gets solidified through multiple readings. Tackling essay type questions will come more naturally by using the layering technique.
Google defines mnemonic as a system such as of pattern of letters, ideas, or associations which assist in remembering something. This helps in remembering a bunch of associated places, names or things. To remember the colours of a rainbow we use VIBGYOR, where each letter stands for a colour and the order of the letters is the order of the colours as well. This is a name mnemonic.
The English alphabet song is a sound mnemonic that children use to remember the alphabet. Note cards and models are some of the other forms of mnemonics. A used notebook with clean sheets can be used to make flashcards. Simply write down the question on one side and the answer on the opposite side. The child can play and learn as they would with Pokemon or football cards.
The life cycle of a fern is a model mnemonic, used to understand the different stages of growth in the life of the fern.
Mind maps are great tools to remember the central idea and all its associated branches. They help break down complex ideas into digestible portions. Take a look at this tennis mind map.
The mindmap has broken down the ATP finals. The tournaments, surfaces, scores, type of shots and principles of the matches have been laid out. If the same material was in a paragraph, it might be quite heavy. Broken into a mind map it helps all kinds of learners, including visual learners.
6. Talk to your teachers
Very often, students and teachers interact post-test. The teacher points out areas of concern and gaps. A math teacher, for instance, may expect all steps to be explained, rather than just the answer. Talking to their teachers before the exam is helpful, because the teacher will give custom feedback to the child. Being aware of their strengths and blindspots, the teacher can guide the student on how to better take the exam. Their pointers can be jotted down and will provide greater focus to the student as they study and take the exam.
Make sure that you discuss your child's exam paper after the results are out. This will keep you updated on how to help them before their next exam.
It always helps to take mock tests before the real deal. Schools often provide students mock test papers or worksheets. Make sure the child does them diligently. Discuss the answers because they help fortify concepts.
8.Avoid distractions at study time
Keep your child's study time sacrosanct. Encourage them to not to keep their mobile phones near them. Uninterrupted study can be rewarded with some social-media time or screen time. As a parent, create the surroundings for children to be able to spend time with their study- material. Take tests and exams seriously and chip in with help when the children need it.
9.Read instructions carefully
A key and important element of testing is to carefully read and follow testing instructions before the exam starts. The child should understand the instructions well and must clarify if they don't. This will also help the child plan the order in which they will answer the questions and how much time should be allocated to each.
Daily practice will add up to big benefits. A child who keeps aside short units of time to study diligently, find ways to connect with the material and become well prepared for the exam.
The secret to doing well in exams is not overnight cramming, but a familiarity and love for learning practiced over time.
This is a reading list by some of the best researchers on learning of additional resources that parents, teachers and students can read and use.