“Failing to plan, is planning to fail”
For many learners, exams are an endless struggle. They are able to manage their homework and cope fine with assignments, but as soon as exams come around, everything seems to fall apart. There are a number of factors that could be contributing to this, but the most common culprit is simply a lack of preparation. The good news though, is that preparation is something you and your child can do something about right now.
Tips for Effective Exam Preparation:
Organize your study material
Before learners start studying, they need to first have a holistic idea of everything that needs to be covered by the start of exams. Their material needs to be organised and portioned into manageable chunks, which can then easily be prioritised within a study timetable.
Create a study timetable
Using an A4 or larger full month calendar is usually the best as it gives your child a complete overview of their days up until, and throughout exams.
- Fill in the dates of the exams and then work backwards.
- Spread the necessary material evenly throughout the available days.
- Schedule in personal plans and arrange studying around these events – factoring in additional studying time on more free days.
- Use the week before exams for revision purposes only – digest what has already been studied, don’t try to cram new information.
It is important for this to be set up at least a month prior to exams, in order to allow your child not only enough time to get through all the material, but also to share their timetable with their tutor – making sure that enough tutoring sessions are planned throughout the studying period, as well as included in their schedule.
Have a study space
Learners need their own space to study, which should be kept clean and organised. This is where learners will be spending most of their days for an extended period of time; so it needs to be comfortable, free from distraction, offer good lighting, as well as any additional factors that contribute to a learner’s focus. For some this may mean complete silence, while others may find soft background music helpful.
Practice with past exam papers
One of the best ways to study is for your child to start doing now, what they’re going to be expected to do on exam day. Learners can choose a past paper, set a timer, and do the exam with no notes – just as if they were writing the real exam. This method is very effective in discovering what still needs to be improved, getting to grips wth the format of the questions, as well as getting a feel for how much time can be spent on each section in order to finish on time.
Prepare for tutoring sessions
Time with a tutor is limited and learners should therefore prepare for their tutoring sessions by making sure they’re going through an adequate amount of work on their own before each tutoring session – writing down any questions they may have. This ensures that the tutor doesn’t spend time going through sections your child is already comfortable with, but rather maximising their time with their subject experts.
Don’t change the routine, change the diet
Making sudden adjustments to regular routines such as staying up longer, sleeping later than usual, or waking up earlier than a learner is used to, will send your child’s body into a mild shock, and as a result, they can’t function at their optimum. While small adjustments can be made to fit in more study hours, overdoing it can affect a learner’s memory and will end up doing more harm than good. A more beneficial change is to ensure that your child is eating healthy, snacking at regular intervals, and drinking plenty of water, as these factors all affect concentration.
Take regular breaks and exercise
Research suggests that study sessions should be no longer than 45 – 60 minutes at a time, taking regular 20 – 30 minute breaks, away from the study space. Exercise has also proven to be beneficial to a studying learner as it releases hormones within the brain that increase memory.
But what about the learners who tick off all of the above and spend weeks preparing, but still aren’t achieving their desired results? This is usually due to ineffective preparation – where your child is most likely using study methods that are not the most beneficial for them, or simply no methods at all.
BrightSparkz Tutors has partnered with an outstanding Educational Psychologist who offers insightful study skills workshops where your child will learn not only the basic studying skills mentioned above, but also more about:
- your memeory being a muscle that can be trained and improved
- encoding, storage, and retrieval of information
- shallow processing, intermediate processing, deep processing
- using tools such as mnemonics, colours, and stories to personalise studying
For more information on our holiday workshops and how we can help your child reach their full academic potential, please contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Exams can be daunting for both you and your child, but there is no reason why either of you should have to struggle alone. BrightSparkz Tutors offers one-on-one, subject specific tutoring that takes place in the comfort of your own home, or venue of your choice. Our tutors undergo a thorough screening process and are carefully selected based on their specific strengths in their chosen subjects, as well as their character, personality, school results, and past tutoring experience.
If you’re interested in providing your child with one-on-one assistance, just click here, provide us with your details, and we’ll get right onto looking for the most suitable tutor to assist your learner through exams. The first rule of exam preparation is key: don’t wait – start preparing as soon as possible.
Written by Ashleigh de Jager, BrightSparkz Blog Writer