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How to prepare your child for exams

When I received the notice announcing the 4 days of PSLE marking day exercise whereby the children don’t have to go to school, I was like:”WHAT?!?! No school?”. Yeah, no school means 4 whole days of play at home and I can imagine the poor ME turning into a tigress and roaring at him to his desk to do his revision otherwise I’ll bite.

So before I turned into a tigress and get my mind all messed up due to anger. I prepared myself instead. Calmly and peacefully, we discussed how he is going to get prepared for his battle. Surprisingly, he has already done the planning on his own and all I need to do is make sure he is well-rested and well-fed, that’s all. Sounds easy-peasy? Here are our little tips on how we did it together.

Tip #1 – Always there for your child emotionally and physically
What do I mean by that? Be there when they need help to solve some of their queries. If you do not know the answer, don’t fret. Solve the problem together or you can teach them how to solve the problem. Throw your ego aside and assist them whenever you can. With your attention and care, they will feel secure and confident. I know is tough for working parents. Be there for them when you are home and I mean 100% there, even for a short moment.

Tip #2 – Discuss problem solving
From tip #1, we mentioned about problem-solving. It is best that you show and guide them how you solve each of the problems encountered and show them the possible strategies. With that, they will be able to understand better. Ask them questions along the way to make sure that they understand what you are talking about. I understand sometimes can be really frustrating especially teaching our own children. We lose our patience really fast and furious. If you really feel that way, take in deep slow breaths to calm yourself down, get a cup of ice cold water to drink and refocus.

Tip #3 – Teach them positive thinking
There will be times that your child will feel really depressed and upset when he/she can’t understand or solve a problem. Sometimes, we adults feel that way too. Always remind them that they should always give it a try and never give up. If they don’t try at all, they don’t get any marks. If they give it a try, at the very least, they may get some points. Who knows they may get the correct answer too!

Tip #4 – Teach your child to relax
Some children tend to get anxious easily. It is good to teach them some relaxation skills to release the tension. Best relaxation skill is to breathe in slowly to calm down. Show them how it is done and do it together. You can take this chance to have some relaxing bonding time with them as well.

Warning: you can do silly things together too but not during the exams!

Tip #5 – Schedule study time
Luckily for me, he did all the scheduling himself. If they don’t do it, you can assist and guide them on how to schedule their time. This way, both you and your children will know what has been revised and what has not. It also helps to space out study time and play time too.

Revise, revise, revise

Tip #6 – Schedule play time and break time
You don’t work the whole day, do you? So do they. Schedule some play time for them to rest and relax. It also allows their brain to digest what has been studied as well and that includes frequent short breaks in between their study time on top of play time. Bear in mind, don’t threatened with:”If you don’t study, you will fail.” Why not change it to this:”Study well for your exams so that you are well prepared for it.” Feels much better, isn’t it?

Taking a break to help me cook…
Taking a break to do some crafts…

Tip #7 –  A good night rest and a hearty breakfast
The day before the exam, allow your child to rest early. When the day comes, prepare a hearty breakfast for your child. Best breakfasts to have on that day are eggs and wholegrain food. No red bull drinks, please. They are not going to the real battle! The sugar rush will make them crash instead. Don’t forget to check that all the stationaries required are in their bags and make sure they arrive at school on time.

Not forgetting his favourite lunchbox too!

Exams are important but it does not define them. Failing doesn’t mean they are stupid, passing with flying colours doesn’t mean they can look down on people as well. No matter what, they are still our children and they are talented in some ways. Do give them your support and your confidence. That’s the best way to support them.

Good luck with your exams!

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