Harvard students rub the foot of the John Harvard statue for good luck before exams. Columbia students scream out of their windows at midnight before exams. All IVY league students have their exam rituals. These exam rituals don’t ensure exam success though. These rituals only ensure mental satisfaction for them.
Whereas, to maximise exam performance an effective pre-exam routine is essential. There are 3 requisites to get into the right preparation mode. Getting into the right mindset, tuning the mood and following the right method for studying. It can make or break all the hard work put in. You must have already read about how you can prepare your child for exams and help them reduce their stress. We’ve put together a step-by-step plan for fitting in as much as a child can do before showtime.
Have a look at techniques that can be applied a week and one day before exams.
1 week before exams
a. Eliminating all distractions – Distractions are an easy escape from studies. TV, phone, social media, etc seems more interesting. These urges are bound to happen. Help children reinforce their attention towards studies from time to time. Use kind and loving words to convey your concerns.
b. Staying focussed- Children should focus on a single objective. Completing one topic in hand and only then moving on to the next should be the plan. It will avoid confusion. The chances of recalling the precise information during the exam will become high.
c. Relax – Stress is in the air to make a child’s life difficult during exams. The child can do a few deep breathing exercises so stress won’t have its way. Some prefer listening to music or even dancing it out. Let them be and let them chill out.
a. Peak And Dull Hour Division – Every individual has the ability to concentrate better during certain hours of the day. These are his peak hours. It is easier to grasp information during this time of the day. Keeping difficult and lengthy topics for that time is advisable. Likewise, when the mind is at it’s least alert state its called dull hours. Objectives and other quick runs through subjects can be done during these dull hours.
b. Proper Ambience – Help children identify a suitable place to study. With adequate lights and comfortable seating arrangements. Make them choose a place that is quiet and free from noise and disturbances.
c. Sleeping Well – Sleep is the best food for the brain. Not having enough sleep has negative effects on the mind and body. For the brain to function fully ensure children get 7-8 hrs of sleep. Don’t allow late night binge-watching or staying out now.
a. Making flashcards – Important points highlighted or jotted down during classes can be made into flashcards. Flashcards promote studying through active recall. It’s a practice through which the brain learns most effectively. It’s a very useful tool to revise quickly.
b. Exam hall practice – Set up an exam-like environment and get children to attempt sample papers. Taking mock exams in exam hall like conditions will help boost children’s confidence. It gets them used to write exams and come up with strategies of attempting question papers.
c. Mind mapping – Mind mapping is very useful for easy remembrance. Children can recollect a difficult and vast topic conveniently with this method. For example, they can choose a difficult chapter and create a mind map with its key topics. Different colours can be used to highlight key points of every topic. This way they can have an entire difficult chapter on a single piece of paper.
A day before exams
a. Refrain from panicking – Panic and nervousness is an unavoidable companion to exam time. Children can have panic attacks during exam times. This is generally because they end up comparing themselves to their friend’s study schedules. During this time they need your love and care. Calm their fears with your reassuring words and gestures.
b. Un-pressurized atmosphere – Parents can unburden their children by avoiding stressing them further. You might be equally stressed about their exams but speak only of positive outcomes. Stay aware of their needs and be available to address any concerns.
c. 50 minute hour – Children can make study slots of 50 minutes. A 10-minute break after every slot should help them refresh and get ready for the next slot. This 10-minute break is just enough for them to recharge. They should able to refocus and concentrate better after the break. Doing some deep breathing exercise or eating a snack will help them energize. They can call this as their rejuvenation time.
a. Rise and shine early – Early mornings with a good night’s sleep heightens awareness. Some children hate waking up early morning. Assure them that there’s a lot of time to nap after exams.
b. Eating right and staying hydrated- During exams, it’s important children eat healthy food. It keeps their immunity high. Children should also avoid being in sun for long. Dehydration leads to complicating the body system.
c. Being happy – Children can find a balance between study and leisure and keep it right. It’s important they decide to be happy during this time. It will lead them to perform better. Parents can support children by having timely chats and fun family time.
a. Getting ready the night before – The night before the exam children can do first things first and get it first time right. They have to make sure they have everything ready to take with them. It will be one reason less for a breakdown the next morning before the exam.
b. Revising flashcards – Re-reading notes from flashcards is an economical use of revision time. Flashcards made earlier will facilitate repetition. Nothing comes close to reviewing concepts in the most effective way.
c. Parents testing – Parents can take quick revisions by orally quizzing children. They can fire quick questions from observing the flashcards. It will help parents know how children are doing. And for the children, they will flourish under the parent’s guidance.
Albus Dumbledore in Harry Potter said, “It is not our abilities that show what we truly are. It is our choices.” A day before the exam children might feel they are underprepared. They might also feel there’s not much time left for them to do anything about it. But if they choose to utilize time wisely before exams they can head-in confidently. So much rides on the outcome of the results. Wishing them and you all the best.