Preparing for year-end exams can be hugely stressful for scholars and parents. Here’s how to help your child navigate this stressful period and ace their best marks ever.

Year-end exams cover everything that’s been taught from the beginning of the year. Results for these exams mean graduating to the next grade or spending another year repeating a grade. That’s why parents tend to be more anxious about the effort their child is putting into preparing for these exams. The good news is there’s a lot you can do to help your child get their best results. 

Our expert, Julia Keele of John Mitchell School in Jeppestown.

‘Parents tend to start panicking during exam time,’ says professional educator Julia Keele of John Mitchell School. This can be avoided, however, if you start the school year off on the right foot. She says helping your child should start on the first day of the school year. Make sure the child has all the school material they need, and help with their homework right from the start. This way, you will be aware straight away if there are areas in which your child is struggling. 

You will also get to understand the content of their subjects, so you’ll be better able to help if they have questions. Attending parents’ meetings is also important, as this is where you get updates on your child’s progress. ‘If you pick up early that your child is struggling,’ says Keele, ‘get them help. Register them for an after-school programme run by qualified teachers who can help, send them to Saturday school, get them a tutor or set aside time in your schedule to work with them, while it’s still early.’ She adds that it is never too late to get your child up to speed, saying parents can still play a key role in helping their child prepare for exams, even at this late stage. So here’s how to go about it.

Keele says first and foremost, make copies of your child’s exam timetable. Paste one on the fridge and one in the room where your child studies. This might sound obvious, but sometimes parents – and even children themselves – don’t know when the child is writing which subjects. Here's a handy guide to the Matric Finals 2019 Timetable.

Download timetable here.

This entails dividing all the work that must be studied by subject and chapter. Check how much time you will need to cover each subject. Allocate more time to subjects that your child struggles with. Learn together and quiz each other. If there’s a subject you find difficult (maths and accounting for many parents) get someone else to help – a neighbour, university student or even a teacher. Many teachers are only too willing to help, even if it means your child comes to school 30 minutes earlier or works with the teacher after school. Good teachers take pride in your child’s success, so don’t be afraid to ask for help or guidance.

Having a routine, being organised and sticking to the plan is vitally important at this point. Sacrifices have to be made, such as starting work earlier, so you can leave on time to be home early for revision sessions. Ban television during the week (except possibly one or two favourite shows as a reward for hard work) and start off the weekend with a couple of hours of revision before the child can go and play or catch up on missed TV shows. But introduce another two-hour session of revision before supper.

Studying continuously can be tiring, and concentration flags after long periods, leaving the child demotivated. So allow for regular breaks when they have a snack, take a walk or you just chat about anything but schoolwork. Even a 20 to 30-minute nap can reduce stress and improve memory and concentration. Add an element of fun by inviting your child’s classmates over on the weekend so they can study together. When they are done you can ask them questions, and whoever gives the most correct answers gets a prize – an apple or a slice of pizza for example. Jet Club members can download previous question papers through the Educational Support benefit (see below), so the kids can work on those, share how each one got their answers and correct one another if necessary.

Make sure your child eats a healthy breakfast, lunch and supper. A good breakfast is especially important to kick their day off with an energy boost to aid concentration. Also, give them fresh fruit or nuts as snacks instead of chips and sweets. Enough sleep is vital too. Particularly if your child has to get up early to catch their transport, make younger children go to bed by eight o'clock, while high schoolers should be asleep between nine and 10pm.

Jet Club members have free access to Jet Club’s helplines. For support and advice on depression or babycare call:

Personal Health Advisor
SA & Namibia
0800 0045 45
Botswana, Lesotho & Swaziland
+2711 991 8258

PREPARE YOUR KIDS FOR EXAMS PREPARE YOUR KIDS FOR EXAMS Reviewed by Jet Club on October 03, 2019 Rating: 5
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