As the examination period approaches, your child may feel start to feel nervous and anxious. Not surprisingly, it is actually normal to feel anxious before the exams. In fact, some people find that a bit of pressure enables them to study better as it acts as a motivation to carry out their revision with a determined approach and goal in mind.
As Roger Mead, Stress Management Consultant and General Secretary of the International Stress Management Association states: "Stress is not about the exam, but about what you think about the exam. People shouldn't see them as monsters they can't escape. With the right preparation they're not too scary."
If your child is feeling overwhelmed or is panicking before the exams, here are 4 tips that you may use to overcome his/her exam stress:
When your child is revising, encourage him to make notes or to at least highlight the important key points and revise those highlighted key points several times. It is also useful for your child to make a short list of the main points after revising each topic/chapter, and he can revise those main points on the day before the exam. This will greatly reduce the amount of information that your child needs to revise before the exams, hence reducing some of his exam stress.
As a parent, it is important to constantly encourage and praise your child when he is working hard. Make your child feel that you are there for him physically and emotionally, and make your child’s study environment revision-friendly. You should not force your expectations on your child just before the exams as this will put unnecessary pressure on him.
2) Avoid Cramming or Last Minute Revision
A few days before the exams, your child should set a revision timetable so that he is able to revise all the topics he needs to before the exams. Make sure your child sets realistic targets as cramming too much information just before the exams creates stress and actually hinders proper learning. Other than making sure your child stays on track with his revision timetable, you can help to organise his bag and check his stationery before each exam. Organising these little things will help to cut down on his exam stress.
3) Eat Healthily
It is important for children to avoid processed food, fast food and sugary snacks as much as possible. Try eating foods high in omega 3 as it is great brain food. Sometimes, exam stress will cause some children to lose their appetites. If this happens to your child, you can prepare light meals or simple sandwiches. Eating well will help your child to focus and do his best during the exams.
4) Enough Sleep and Rest
It is advisable for children to have 8 hours of sleep every day, so that they are able to concentrate better the next day. Your child should avoid last minute revision on the night before the exams as this will make him more anxious and even panic, hence affecting his exam performance during the next day. Make sure that your child gets plenty of rest as the brain will function better if it is well-rested.
Last but not least, make sure that your child sets his alarm clock for the next day! Waking up late on the day of the exam will make your child feel anxious and alarmed, and that is not a good way to start the day of the exams.
As parents, we should not be causing exam anxiety; rather we want our children to be as well-prepared as possible. During the days or even hours leading up to the exams, you may encourage your child about doing his/her best. You know your child better than anyone. Emphasize the importance of the exams, but remember to build confidence, not anxiety.
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