If someone told you they were enthused about their upcoming exams and could not wait for them to start, you might regard them with some suspicion. While exams are certainly not a breezy sail past the MIA, they could be approached in a positive manner that might ease the pressure and thus enhance results. At Doha College, we have celebrated the outstanding achievements of many students over the past years and have watched them enter some of the world's most prestigious tertiary institutions. However, these results were the culmination of hard work and determination by the students.
Some students find the pressure of examinations more challenging than others. But there are ways that parents can help their children successfully navigate their way through the exam period.
Every student should be encouraged to formulate a revision timetable. A clear, well planned and detailed revision programme is important to ensure students are prepared. The revision plan should have a logical layout and be easy to follow. Our teachers will be advising students to do this, and there are resources online for further reference.
How we revise is something that will support us when we approach the examinations. It is important to have an understanding of your child's learning style (e.g. visual-spatial, bodily-kinesthetic, musical or logical). Our children are all individuals, and one style of revision may not suit another, even in the same home.
During the revision stage, our children absorb large volumes of information. It is important that they have regular study breaks so they can maintain their ability to focus. The study break (every 15 minutes) and some light exercise (walk up the stairs) re-engages the brain and helps in the retention of information.
Students will by now have established whether they get better results working at night or during the day. It is imperative during this time, however, that they still maintain regular sleep patterns and a healthy diet. The temptation to turn to caffeinated drinks and fast food can be great. Despite the convenience, these will not support your child's energy levels and concentration.
A combination of dehydration and tiredness is the antithesis of successful exam preparation. Mild dehydration can make tasks seem more difficult, as well as lowering concentration. If tasks are perceived as difficult, anxiety levels will increase.
Sleep is the only time the body can rejuvenate, repair and prepare itself. Parents will know that it is virtually impossible to keep a child from their mobile phone or other devices. However, research shows that answering late night emails can increase tension in the body and the 'glow' can affect the release of the sleep-inducing hormone, namely melatonin.
And finally, one thing parents can do (though this can prove more challenging than it might appear), is be calm and supportive. We recognise that is a critical time in their lives, but a supportive family environment will significantly reduce the level of stress your child may feel.
Doha College wishes the best to all students undertaking their exams, and looks forward to hearing stories of their outstanding success.