Exam time

The end of the year is not easy for both the parent or the child.

Both the child and parent stress about the end of year exams. Concern for parents over whether their offspring are studying correctly or enough or even retaining the crucial information to enable them to pass the looming exams.

I thought I could provide a few tips to assist the parents and kids with exam preparations:

Firstly, parents need to be calm. Set a calming environment helps children to focus on studying and keeps their anxiety to a minimum.

Secondly, drawing up and keeping to a schedule will help children and parents to spread out the workload over a manageable period of time. Check in on homework and scheduled studying on a daily basis with your child. This way if there is any missing information, it can be quickly rectified before the schedule loses momentum.

Thirdly, identify times when your child is more alert and make use of these times. It may be that mornings on weekends can be very productive. Or else your child might be able to get more during early evening. It’s a team effort for parent and child to assist in making use of the most optimum times.

Fourthly, try to assess which studying methods your child responds to best. I mention three learning methods below, with some extra resources for you to investigate.

Fifth: very important, understand and implement rest breaks for your child based on their attention span. Rest the brain and give time for a game, exercise, chores or a meal. Fuel is important, and consider rest as a refueling process.

Some other tips: If given the opportunity, try to revise with your child; get them to bed early before an exam; hydrate properly; maintain a proper diet ‰ÛÒ take some tips from Patrick Holford:

Brain Friendly Diet ‰ÛÒ Patrick Holford

The starting point for tuning up your brain is to follow an optimum nutrition diet and take daily supplements. Here are the ten golden rules to follow to make sure your diet is maximising your mental health.

  • Eat wholefoods ‰ÛÒ wholegrains, lentils, beans, nuts, seeds, fresh fruit and vegetables ‰ÛÒ and avoid refined, white and overcooked foods.
  • Avoid any form of sugar – in biscuits, cakes, confectionery and also foods with added sugar in the forms of syrups, dextrose and maltose.
  • Eat five or more servings of fruits and vegetables.Choose dark green, leafy and root vegetables such as watercress, carrots, sweet potatoes, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, spinach, green beans or peppers, all raw or lightly cooked. Choose fresh fruit such as apples, pears, berries, plums, melon or citrus fruit. Have bananas, grapes and potatoes in moderation only (they contain a lot of natural sugar). Dilute fruit juices and only eat dried fruits infrequently in small quantities, preferably soaked.
  • Eat four or more servings of wholegrains such as rice, millet, rye, oats, wholewheat, corn or quinoa as cereal, breads and pasta. 

    Combine protein foods with carbohydrate foods by eating wholegrain cereals and fruit with raw, unsalted nuts or seeds, and ensuring you eat starchy foods (potatoes, bread, pasta or rice) with protein-rich fish, lentils, beans, eggs or tofu. If eating animal protein, choose lean, white meat or preferably fish, organic whenever possible.

  • Eat eggs ‰ÛÒ preferably free-range, organic and high in omega-3s. Aim for about 3-5 a week.
  • Eat cold-water carnivorous fish. A serving of herring, mackerel, salmon or fresh trout two or three times a week provides a good source of omega-3 fats and protein.
  • Eat raw, unsalted seeds and nuts.The best seeds are flax (or linseed), hemp, pumpkin, sunflower and sesame. You get more goodness out of them by grinding them first and sprinkling on cereal, soups and salads.
  • Use cold-pressed seed oils. Choose an oil blend containing flaxseed oil or hemp oil for salad dressings and cold uses, such as drizzling on vegetables instead of butter. Don’t cook with these oils as their fats are easily damaged by heat.
  • Minimise your intake of fried food, processed food and saturated fat from meat and dairy to prevent damage to brain fats.

Learning Styles:

Bear these in mind, and explore which works best for your child

  • Your child may be an Auditory Learner ‰ÛÒ learning best by hearing. This learner retains most information by listening and repeating what he has heard. Tip: he may record his learning material and play back to himself. http://www.studyingstyle.com/auditory-learners.html
  • åÊYour child may be a Visual Learner ‰ÛÒ processing information using images and other visual stimuli. See mind maps http://www.buzanworld.com/Mind_Maps.htm
  • Your child may be a Kinesthetic Learner ‰ÛÒ liking movement and retains information best when moving around and gesticulating. Tip: this child cannot sit at a desk for long periods, so let them move around while studying in mock presentation of the topic being studied. 

Try this quiz to help determine which learning style your child falls best into: http://www.studyingstyle.com/learning-style-quiz.html

Remember that a child’s emotional, social and environmental elements have an influence on the child’s ability to learn.

Good luck to all children writing exams, and strength to all parents during these times.