10 exam tips from school teachers

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It's that time of the year! And all the mummies and daddies out there are getting ready to prime their offspring with external practice papers, 4-times-a-week tuitions etc to prepare them for the much-feared exams. At times like these, don’t you wish you had a secret guide telling you exactly what the schools expect?

At theAsianparent.com, we heard you and spoke to several current school teachers to bring you this exclusive insight to the super-secret exam tips from teachers themselves!

When prepping up your kids for the exams, here are the top 10 things to remember:

1)      External practice papers are not compulsory
When setting papers for the exam, the school takes into account the standards of the past year papers, and the other practice papers they have already given out. Getting your hands on a stack of papers from other schools is not going to be useful if you just pile them up on your kids. (see next point) If you would just like to give your child some extra practice and exposure to different kinds of questions, however, practice papers from other schools might come in pretty handy.

2)      Don’t force high-intensity tuition at the last minute
Tutors are not meant to be there to simply load your child up with work. A better approach would be to consult tutors instead to make your child do some basic exercises and figure out the exact issues they have with the topic. In this case, practice papers are useful, as they provide a wider breadth, targeted on the topics that your child has problems with.

3)      Actively participate

Don’t just fret about the fact that they have paid no heed to your countless reminders to study. Kids will always be kids, and what do they really know of the concept of “studying”? This is where you come in. Actively take note of your child progress over the months, plan and help them keep to a study schedule, and allocate a space for them to study away from distractions, such as siblings, toys, electronic gadgets and such.

4)      The kids tend to skip the “exams” bit in their mental schedule

Singapore has no four seasons, but we can say that especially with the Mid-Year examinations, just when the sun begins to shine at its strongest, and the summer air starts to pervade, it can be a little tricky to get your restless little one to get studying. Play is a critical aspect of a child’s development, however, so set a fixed study timetable- but set aside time for sufficient breaks.

5)      Prioritise schedules

Even if there are long weekends just before the examinations kick in, don’t involve your child in family trips, weekend chalets etc. The younger, the less adept at adapting back to study mode, so don’t break the momentum. Even bringing books and notes over weekend trips cut no ice, as the chances are that you little one is not going to absorb anything.

6)      Bite-sized blends

Children, especially those in lower primary, do not have the same attention span. For instance, you might make your child do Mathematics for 2 hours straight, but only 45 minutes are really absorbed – the rest of that time has been wasted. Instead, fit in short periods for revision of a range of different topics in a single day.

7)      Make your child understand the PURPOSE of examinations

“You need to study, you are going to take your exams, you know!” Sound familiar? In the active little minds of kids, though, this is probably responded to with a huge “so what?” Don’t just tell them that exams are important. Make it clear why they are important – to test their knowledge, identify their weak spots, and the things they are better in, and such. Teachers themselves also play an important part of this, and they claim the general sentiment towards exams and studying for them improve greatly when students see the point.

8)      Motivation is the key

One of the biggest mistakes a parent can make is the promise of rewards with every examination. This only increases the expectations of a child every term, especially since many parents are wont to reward their kids either way, for fear of their otherwise being demoralized. Don’t underestimate the value of simple motivation – that way, not only is your child inspired, they will never get the message that physical rewards come at the end – whether they work hard or not.

9)      Proper nutrition

This might sound like a message from a broken radio, so we’ll keep it short - but health really is extremely important. Ensure that your little soldier drinks enough water, and gets sufficient nourishment to fuel those brain juices!

10)   Don’t freak out, it is still only the Mid-Year’s

Even if the little one does not fulfill your expectations this time round, it really isn’t the time to have a panic attack. Now that you’re armed with these tips, work towards helping your child achieve his/her fullest potential in time for finals!

Good Luck!