At Wingu Academy, we’re all about delivering innovative teaching methods, and helping your child on their learning path to success – and it all culminates in the dreaded ‘exam’ word!
You can probably remember exams as a child. The reclusive hours of study, the heart-thumping nervousness in the exam room, the feeling of dread when you can’t remember the answer to a question! It can be daunting, and just as much so for parents because we know how hard it is, and only want what’s best for our child.
As much as there are a variety of new assessment methods, exams are still vitally important for teaching students skills like: dedication, ability to work under pressure, and a commitment to practice and preparation.
It’s an opportunity for children to build their confidence and apply their knowledge, which is critical for their future endeavours.
So, here are our top 5 methods for parents to help their kids ace exams
1. Maintain a healthy diet
According to research, while the brain represents just 2% of a person’s total body weight, it accounts for 20% of the body’s energy use. A brain’s activity also increases when performing more demanding tasks. It’s therefore important for children to eat nutritious foods that release energy slowly.
Whole-wheat bread, eggs and fruit are good breakfast choices to help keep the brain consistently alert. Sugary foods result in mood and concentration swings. The best superfoods for the brain include oily fish, berries, nuts and seeds, and green vegetables like broccoli and kale.
Helping your child develop a study routine will prepare them for achieving higher exam scores. Set up a time and place for regular studying. The place shouldn’t have posters, a TV or anything that could distract the learner. The study area should have a desk with plenty of space for books, pens and pencils.
The lighting shouldn’t be too bright, but not too dim. Adding some background music is also proven to boost exam scores. Background music helps children not to feel abandoned while studying. Soft classical music works well, but music with vocals should be avoided.
Help your child set up their own timetable for when they plan to commit to studying – this gives them a sense of ownership rather than it feeling forced upon them. Some research suggests study periods of 40 minutes.
There is also the well-known Pomodoro method, which suggests working in 25 minute chunks with 5 minute breaks. Not only can it boost productivity but it can also help reduce exam stress. Here’s how to set up the Pomodoro technique.
3. Make learning fun
To help your child ace their exams, it’s important to cultivate a sense of learning throughout the year, as opposed to cramming at the end. Engaging children in a fun way during exams helps them retain information over time. For example, when travelling, give them a map and make it their responsibility to direct you.
You can also relate what they’re learning to something they’re familiar with. For example, if they’re studying animals in biology, encourage them to look at birds in the garden to get a different view from what’s in the text book.
Mind-mapping is another popular method that helps children digest large chucks of information. Encourage them to write a central word or concept on a piece of paper, and around that word write another ten relating ideas. Then take those words and again write another ten ideas. This also encourages creative thinking, and especially works for visual learners. Learn more about mind-mapping.
Have you ever tried Mnemonics? This method involves remembering the first letter in a sequence of words in a list. For example:
EADGBE – Elephants and Donkeys Grow Big Ears
This mnemonic is useful for remembering the strings of a guitar in proper order from left to right.
4. Introduce creative sprints
Creativity boosts the brain, and studying for exams is often left-brain centric. Encourage your child to break this up by short bursts of creative exercises during the day. For example, get them to think of as many uses for a pair of tweezers as they can. It doesn’t have to be logical, just fun. You can try it with other objects like a brick, paint, toothbrush etc.
5. Ace your exams on the day
Preparation is key to acing those exams, but so is performance on the day. Encourage a good night’s sleep, and avoid cramming until the last minute.
Help your child practice breath-work, by slowing down their breathing: inhaling for a count of three, holding for three and exhaling for three. When they get into the exam room, instead of wasting time thinking about all the things they don’t know, rather advise them to take a few deep breaths. Then, skim over the exam paper first, underlining key words and instructions. They should start with answering the questions they are sure of first, rather than wasting time thinking about the answers for the other ones. Then, they should go back to the ones they are unsure of.
Give them a lucky charm! Research suggests that carrying a lucky charm can build confidence and reduce anxiety.
2021 has been a year full of changes and challenges, and this final hurdle in the school year is almost over, and we’re here to see you through until the end! We can’t wait to celebrate when your kids ace exams.