NCEA final exams are now just 3 weeks away. This is always a stressful time for both students and parents, but never more so than during this lockdown. In previous years, schools have allowed for plenty of study time and teacher assistance in class, but this year that has simply not been possible. So what can you, as a parent, do to help?

The "3 P's" of effective exam preparation are:

  1. Plan
  2. Prepare
  3. Perform

1. Plan

The saying "failing to plan is planning to fail" is especially true when it comes to exams. Even if your child has already started studying for the exams, encourage them to take the time to review their exam prep strategy with you. Are they studying smart?

Some questions to ask them are: Do you have a study plan? Have you written down the dates and times of all your exams and how many days you have left? What are the key points that each of your exams are likely to cover? Have you contacted your teachers about any key points you're not sure of from going through the year's coursework? On what key points do you feel most and least confident? What do you need help with? Have you allocated enough study time in your schedule while allowing for regular and all-important breaks, recreation, socialising and rest?

2. Prepare

"Plan your work and work your plan" is another classic saying. Your child's plan should set out how they intend to prepare for the exams. They'll need to start by organising their notes and study materials. Then they'll need to organise themselves. Science shows that the best way to do this is to use a diary or calendar to schedule study blocks. These should be no longer than 90 minutes – any longer and concentration tends to wane – with a break, a drink and a snack before the next study block. Study blocks should be scheduled at times of the day when your child is most receptive to learning – from 10am to 2pm and 7pm to 9pm, according to science.

Your child's learning style is as important as scheduling if they want to study efficiently. How do they learn best? Visually? Aurally? By doing? Science says that we learn through a variety of ways, and those ways may differ according to what is being learned.

That's why we at Thinking2morrow use the latest tutoring methods in maths and English, combining computer-based interactive learning programmes and multimedia with one-to-one tutoring from expert tutors. Right now, we offering online exam revision and study classes where your child has access to personal tutoring through the magic of Zoom. We'll carefully assess your child's needs, then work to build not only their understanding and confidence in their exam subject, but also their exam technique. We're not here to take the place of your child's teachers, but to supplement and support their good work in these troubled times.

3. Perform

How your child performs in exams generally depends on how well they have planned and prepared. But that's not all. As we just said, exam technique plays a big part too. Has your child developed a 'feel' for what the exam will be like by taking previous years' exams? Are they ready for the exam? Have they had enough sleep? Have they had a good breakfast or lunch and drunk enough water? Is the room quiet and comfortable? Do they have everything they need at hand (including a pen and paper for writing notes)?

Here are some important tips for succeeding in exams:

  1. Take your time – start by reading the exam instructions carefully and then, if possible, skim through all the questions, making notes on your paper as you go
  2. Make a plan for tackling the exam, starting with the questions you feel most confident about answering but also taking into account the points for each question
  3. Your 'plan' should include a timeframe based on points – calculate the time to spend on each question by dividing the points per question by the exam time e.g. if a question is worth 20 out of 100 points and the total time allowed for the exam is 2 hours, allow 24 minutes to answer the question (but if you're struggling with it, move on to questions where you can get more points for the time you spend)
  4. Rather than starting to type your answers to longer questions (including essays in English exams), make notes in bulletpoints on paper
  5. Don't get bogged down on questions, especially if they're worth less points than others – move on to other questions which you can do well at
  6. If you finish early, don't hit Submit and start relaxing – go back through your answers and try to gain some more points

It's not too late to enrol your child in our special Online Exam Prep Tutoring classes. Message or call us now!