Entrance Exam Advice
Help equip your child with the skills and coping mechanisms to ensure exam success
Whether you think they’re important for developing life skills or loathe the ‘exam factory’ mentality, children aged 4-18 are being tested in all areas and more emphasis than ever is being placed on those results. As a parent, it can be really hard to wait in the wings, especially if children are younger or the exams will have lasting implications on your child’s education. This is by no means an exhaustive look into how you can help your children, but it might help both parties feel more prepared:
Fail to plan, plan to fail
Ok, perhaps not fail, but not having an adequate plan for
study time is likely to cause more stress in the long run. Work backwards from the exam date and set aside time for revision – making sure to minimise impact on extra-curriculars and hobbies. Entrance exams shouldn’t require more than 5-8 hours per week, but preparing early is key, especially for identifying any problematic spots that might require extra work/tutelage.
Review Past Papers
Past papers are a really important part of exam prep – they help children to familiarise themselves with the type of questions that might come up and how they should answer them. Unfortunately, exam technique counts for nearly as much as knowledge. It’s important to tackle those subjects which they find most difficult first in order to help build confidence across the board.
Speak to Other Parents, Teachers and Students
Try to find out more about the process from parents and students who have just been through the exams. What challenged them? What kinds of questions came up? Talk to the teachers too if you if you have any areas of concern that could be improved with some work at home or with a private tutor.
Practice Calming Techniques
You can do all the preparation in the world, only to come up against an unexpected question – and that can derail a student. The key is to help children know how to manage that stress and keep their heads. Anna Michaelidou of First Tutors says, “skipping difficult and challenging questions and coming back to them later is one great tip whilst another is using the process of elimination and eliminating any answers that are obviously incorrect making choosing an answer that they are not entirely sure about easier. Another great exam tip is to read any questions before reading a passage so that they will know what information to look for and always make sure to read all of the answer options before selecting one; there may be one that seems correct but further down the list may be a more correct answer.”
All you can really control is your child’s attitude to the exam and how they prepare. Accept that, and make sure they go into their examinations knowing that their best is good enough, no matter the outcome.