Do exams seem to make your child nervous? How can you help them relax and feel confident about taking them?
We’ve identified 8 of the most common exam mistakes that lead to insecurity and feeling nervous while taking an exam. Help children avoid these and watch them blossom into confident students!
1. Not Eating Breakfast
Make sure your child has a nutritious breakfast each morning before school — and especially on exam day. This meal will fuel their brain throughout the day.
Remember, a sugary doughnut won’t cut it, they need protein, fiber, and antioxidants. Go for a bowl of oatmeal with blueberries or scrambled eggs instead.
2. Not Preparing Ahead of Time
Encourage your child to always pack their school bag the night before. This ensures they have everything on hand when it is time to leave in the morning. Rushing around the house looking for a missing calculator when they should be on their way to school is no way to start the day.
3. Avoiding Confusing Concepts
Sometimes students are like ostriches. They figure if they just avoid something they don’t understand, it will go away. Unfortunately, it rarely does. Most of the time it just snowballs and makes it harder to understand other concepts as well.
Encourage your child to use their resources — teachers, tutors, etc. — and ask questions when they don’t understand.
It is so easy to procrastinate! Exams can feel like they are super far away and studying for an English exam too far ahead of time would be a waste.
Unfortunately, the exams creep up way faster than expected and suddenly students feel behind and overwhelmed.
5. Staying Up All Night to Study
Procrastinating usually leads to staying up all night, but some students adopt all-nighters as part of their study strategy.
Whatever the reason for pulling an all-nighter, it’s a terrible idea. The brain can’t work well when sleep-deprived. Even if the student manages to cram the information and do “okay” on the exam, they will not retain the information long-term. This will make future exams harder.
6. Leaving Unanswered Questions
When it’s time to sit down and take the exam, encourage your child to always write something. Even if they aren’t sure of the answer, getting credit for a partially correct answer is better than leaving it blank and getting zero credit.
Plus, they might even get it right!
7. Not Watching the Time
There’s a bit of strategy to test-taking that goes beyond knowing the answers. Too many students get hung up on a section and run out of time for the other ones.
Encourage your child to keep track of the time and don’t spend too much time on one section. You can even hold practice sessions at home with old exams to help them develop a strategy.
Making some of the other mistakes on this list is usually what eventually leads to panic on exam day. Feeling unprepared will do that to you!
Even so, some students just get nervous about exams. Remind your child to slow down and breathe. As long as they are putting the effort into their studies and avoiding these exam mistakes, they can expect positive results!