Stress-Free Exam Time 101 by Trudie from Essence of Balance

Stress-Free Exam Time 101 by Trudie from Essence of Balance

Here we are into Term 4 and facing YEAR end exams. I’m not sure who gets more stressed, the learners who have to try get loads of work into their heads, or the parents. Why do we find this time of the year particularly stressful ??

I think it is twofold. Firstly, it’s been a LONG year for everyone, and secondly, term 4 is particularly short !! Suddenly it feels like the whole years work has to be learned in a few weeks, and panic mode sets in as most realise this is near impossible to accomplish!

So, why do we ALLOW this to happen ? Is it because we procrastinate, hoping this will pass one way or another, or probably more to the point, because we lack organisation skills that we ideally should have had in place the whole year !? Then the irritation starts. We are not sure what our children should be learning. Sometimes they are unclear as to what as well. We feel there is not enough time in the day/week/month. It appears that our dear learner is not interested and couldn’t care how they fair. They fumble around in an attempt to learn their workload. We stress seeing them. They stress not understanding all they need to learn. We suddenly try bringing in tutors or anyone/any tool that might help. We all stress more. We scream and shout at each other. We have doors slamming. We burn the midnight oil and sometimes we crash and burn too.

A lot of the above can be avoided IF we were more organised AND that means being organised THOUGH-OUT the year from day one. It’s not easy to do. It takes discipline. It takes practice. It takes energy. It is however DOABLE and the more we stick to it, the more in place or routine is, the more it becomes a life habit, which if learned young, makes life SO MUCH easier ! It is pointless putting a plaster of a wound that is 5cm long !!

We as parents need to dig deep. We need to set an example for our children and guide them through the process. In term 4, if left until term 4, it’s a unfortunately a bit too late ! All I can do as an educational coach at this point is to try give you a FEW tips as HOW to manage the next month, in hope that you follow me into 2019 and follow my advise month to month in order to create a MUCH smoother year !??

1.  Make sure your child/you know exactly what you child needs to study PER subject. Why, well you may end up trying to learn unnecessary work if you are not aware of the chapters/pages/diagrams that they will be tested on.

2.  Take each chapter/set of pages that they need to learn and judge how much of their work they understand. Why, well it takes a lot more energy and time to learn work that you don’t understand.

3.  If the work is understood, then try judge how much of the work do they know if they were to write an exam tomorrow ? Why, well if they know a particular section well (80% or more), that section can effectively go straight to revision. If not, then one can judge how much time and focus needs to be made per section/chapter/page etc.

4.  There are many ways to study, and studying should be at least ½ way interesting. Studying the same way for each subject is not necessarily the best. If you have the winning recipe and your child is achieving excellent academic results, then you don’t necessarily need to look at alternatives. If however they are under achieving, then the following saying applies: “If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got !!” It’s time to change your study method.

5.  Can you say with confidence, “he/she knows their work for this section” – how do you know they know and how do they know they know ? It’s all about being analytical and focused. TESTING them on their work will soon give you an indication of what they know. They can self test too if they are old enough. Re-writing what they think they know on another piece of paper may help them. Redrawing or relabeling a diagram will indicate what they don’t know. Past papers are a great tool.

6.  A study schedule should be set up before each set of exams. Again, this is a bit of an art. It needs to be set up weeks in advance and it needs you to be able to analyse each subject in order to draw up an effective regime, and YES it needs to include weekend studying, relaxation time and revision time. Oh, and it needs to be STUCK to !!!

7.  Lastly, one needs to accept what is done is done. It is pointless stressing the day before an exam because you haven’t put enough time in, or because you should have been more organised, or because you should have stuck to your time table. The day before should be calm and reflective. You should be just revising over your work. Relaxing with the thoughts of: I prepared well. I know my work even though some sections are still a bit challenging. I’ve learned that I need to adjust a few things for next exams. It is what it is now and I will go into the exam focused on giving it my best shot.

All that I can now say is, if you need me to assist you with anything going forwards, please contact me. I am there for not only your children, but also for you. Should you want things to change next year, follow this blog. Should you want me to work with your child in 2019, email me on  or whatsapp me on 082 9512514.

Best wishes for the last time in 2018, and have a GOOD break, albeit very short !!

Yours in Education and bringing balance in life, Trudie

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