23/05/2018 06:12 SAST | Updated 23/05/2018 06:12 SAST

Here's How Parents Can Help With First-Time Exam Jitters

Generation after generation, people have passed on the baton of fear, anxiety and dread when it comes to exams.

Peter Nicholls/ Reuters

The idea of writing exams rarely brings about emotions of excitement and happy anticipation. In fact, feelings of anxiety, fear and outright panic are what most parents and learners experience when exam time comes knocking at their door.

Generation after generation, people have passed on the baton of dread when it comes to exams.

The stories are familiar to us all:

• You can fail!

• You may "go blank"!

• There is just too much work to remember.

• You are writing exams for the first time — good luck with that!

The list is frightening and seemingly endless and yet, it does not need to be this at all. Here are a few simple tips to consider that will help ensure that exams are a healthy and more positive experience for your children:

1. As parents, you are your child's first teacher. You set the tone in your home; therefore you need to be mindful of not allowing your past fears of exams to influence how you encourage your child now.

Embrace exams as an opportunity to learn and grow. Create an atmosphere of excited anticipation, especially if your child will be writing exams for the first time.

2. Get organised and have a designated area for your child to study. The study area is a no-go zone for cellphones or any other distractions.

Before a study session, decide what needs to be covered and how much time is needed. Make sure that all stationery, learning materials and an exam pad are available before the study session begins.

3. Break the exam requirements into bite-size manageable pieces and tick off completed sections as you go. Celebrate all positive progress.

4. Encourage children to put pencil to paper when studying. Learners are seven times more likely to remember new information when they write while studying.

5. Set realistic, achievable goals by writing down goals and putting them up on the wall at the study area.

6. Cover all the "easy-mark" concepts and skills first and tackle the more challenging ones later.

7. Teach your child to do their best by encouraging him/her to put in the effort and reap the rewards.

8. Manage any fears and anxiety with positive affirmations and teach your child to believe in his/her ability to overcome challenges and achieve their goals.

As parents, it is your responsibility to set a positive, motivating environment in your home. Steer clear of your own fears and anxieties when it comes to exams.

Show a sincere interest in your child's progress and set an example of positive determination, remembering always that your children are more likely to do what you do, rather than what you say.