It would be great if there was a one size fits all approach to exam preparation! The most important thing is for you, the parent to remember to keep a level head and to focus on what the purpose of the exam is. Your anxieties can easily be transferred onto your child.
Exams should be set in order to monitor the child’s knowledge enabling the teacher to prepare their subsequent lessons based around the weaknesses of the student/s. Here are some ways to help your child have a stress free approach whilst still helping them perform at their best.
For the unfazed student
This can be a very good thing! Encourage them to have a good approach to exams, that they should try their best and that that exams are beneficial to their learning.
For the anxious student
Help them to maintain perspective. Remind them why we have tests, that they are doing it in order for the teachers to help them. If they are extremely anxious, it may be worth speaking with their teacher to see if the exam conditions can be changed to suit your child.
Lots of revision can be very beneficial so they are familiar with the style of questions (multiple choice etc). Consider setting up a pretend exam for them in the sort of conditions they would experience at school such as with a clock on the wall and the time remaining on a white board.
Send them to school with their own special pencil / pen for exams that are not Naplan (they may be required to use a particular one for these).
For the academic student
Help them to revise by creating a good work environment at home.
Provide them with practise papers to familiarise themselves with the content.
Help them to work within time restrictions.
Often careless errors are made by bright students, encourage them to be mindful of not making silly mistakes.
For the struggling student
Praise their achievements
Encourage them to have a go at all questions
Practise, practise, practise!
‘One Size Fits All’ Approach
1. Revise using any material the school sends home.
2. Don’t put pressure on them – remember their age and have a broader perspective on what is important in their life.
3. Point out what may seem obvious, to turn pages over to see if there are more questions and to read the questions carefully.
4. Make sure they have a good breakfast, have a good nights sleep and give them a word of encouragement as they enter the school gates :)
This piece was originally written for Kidspot in 2011 as part of their Bright Buddies series for Kelloggs