The HSC started this week and I am not sure who I feel more sorry for – the kids who have to sit the exams or the parents who have to sit by and watch them. We have compiled a list of bright ideas for parents of kids doing the HSC or any other type of exam. Exams are stressful for everyone involved, no less for the parents of kids doing exams. We wish you and your loved ones all the best in their academic endeavors!
Provide good nutritious meals. – Try to keep the student away from the lollies, chips and biscuits, which are so easy to grab when studying. Instead fill them up on healthy brain foods such as nuts and berries and main meals such as fish and lean red meat. Keep them well hydrated. Plus, cooking special food for them makes them feel loved and you feel useful.
Get them a Job – According to the Women’s Business Council in the UK (as reported in the Daily Mail newspaper) parents shouldn’t get so worried about their kids doing well in exams and should instead encourage them into part time work so that they get some work experience. It at least puts things in perspective.
Encourage a Healthy Level of Study vs. Sleep vs. Relaxation. – This will vary by child, as there will be some students who wont stop studying and some who won’t start. A good 8-10 hrs. sleep before and exam, followed by a high protein breakfast will have them flying out the door to the exam.
No Alcohol – NSW HSC online suggests “Encourage moderation in late night parties and alcohol consumption” What??? I can’t see how any amount of alcohol or partying is going to assist with exams. There is plenty of time for that later.
Let the little things slide – this is not the time to remind them that their room is a bombsite or that they promised to take out the garbage each week and haven’t done it. Give them a bit of slack so they can concentrate on the process of learning.
Bribery – some parents offer cash or gifts in reward for good marks in exams. Some say that this devalues the effort and encourages the child to work for the monetary reward rather than for themselves, but if this works for you and your family go for it!
The 5 P’s – Proper Preparation Prevents Poor Performance. Prepare properly and prevent the night before exam cramming session. Encourage a consistent approach to studying rather than a big last push.
Practice Questions – If you can obtain past papers for your child. You would be surprised how often similar questions come around or similar topics get tested. Try and find patterns in the past papers.
Music and Chewing Gum – some studies have suggested that playing soft music in the background and chewing gum whilst studying increase brain activity and the ability to remember facts. Loud blaring music has the opposite effect.
Super Stationary – buy you little student some fab new stationary to make studying slightly more exciting. I love colored textures, brightly coloured paper for notes and mind maps and small cards for key facts.
Remain Positive After a Bad Exam – If your student comes home demoralised after a bad exam keep positive and supportive. In the end exams are not the be all and end all, and there are plenty of different paths to the career they want.
Keep Things in Perspective – I love this article “Famous People Who Flunked in Exams”. It includes notables such as Einstein and Edison. Keep a copy of this on hand in case the hysteria levels get out of hand.
Limit the Social Media – Whilst them keeping in contact with their friends is important at this time as a means of support late night messages from friends potentially bringing up issues they may not have considered undermines their confidence and can create havoc. Turn off the technology early in the evening.
Find Their Best Way to Learn– some people learn visually, some through hearing etc. Find out the way your child learns best and encourage it.
Exam Fact 1 – Last minute reading of key information works. Ot gets the info into short-term memory. It may not be retained for long but may be good enough to get them through and exam.
Exam Fact 2 – Read the whole paper first before starting any questions. Their subconscious will be working on answers for different questions while they are working on others.
Exam Fact 3 – The first marks in any question are the easiest to get. If they start to run out of time just answer the first part of all remaining questions.