Dubai: Exams are just a few days away and it can be a very stressful time for both students and parents, especially now since students are stuck at home. Many questions arise during this time of the year. How much time should I spend studying? How do I combat my tiredness in Ramadan? When do I start revising?
It’s important to support kids during this tough time of the year, especially with a global pandemic and if they are fasting on top of that.
There are many things that parents can do to help your children manage the exam pressure in a constructive way.
Here's how to get your kids through the exam period.
Top tips for parents
1. Help children to create an encouraging learning space, away from distractions such as the TV or loud noises.
2. Work with children to create a realistic schedule. Break large tasks up so they do not seem overwhelming. Make sure to schedule breaks, so that kids don’t get discouraged. Since they can't actually leave the house, make sure their break is away from a computer so they can give their eyes a break. So the breaks shouldn't involve TV or being on the computer.
3. Ensure your children’s sleep patterns are regular – working late every night will eventually impair productivity and learning.
4. Healthy meals are essential – research has proven that eating the right types of food can have a significant impact on developing a child’s ability to focus and retain information.
5. To avoid potential learning gaps, parents need to ensure that student attendance is regular and avoid unexplained absences throughout the year.
6. Most importantly, nothing can replace parental support, encouragement and reassurance. Mistakes inform progress and we are all always in a learning curve.
Tips for students
This year Ramadan falls in the middle of term time and in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, adding an additional challenge to students in the month before the exam period.
1. It is very important that you set yourself a daily schedule of studying, sleeping and eating or praying if you are fasting. This will help you manage your day in the most efficient and energy conserving way possible. For example, try to study after ending your fast and sleep after you finish your e-learning.
2. Do not leave revision to the last minute. It is important to revise as and when you are studying. This was my trick during school. I would revise even on the first day of my study schedule. Never stop revising.
3. Take a break – having your head in books or accross from a computer for hours on end is not productive. Try taking a 10-15 minute break after every hour of study.
4. During iftar and suhoor, make sure you eat a healthy, balanced meal and be mindful to hydrate as much as you can. Water prevents you from getting headaches that can slow down your thinking.
5. You should try the ‘testing effect’ phenomenon. The most effective study strategy is answering test questions (triggering memory retrieval) or writing essay in response to questions.
6. Use your energy wisely during the week and at weekends – this is a very important time for you. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself during the day when your body is already under stress from fasting.
7. Sleep, sleep and more sleep. A 2007 study showed that lack of sleep and a tired mind, your ability to learn new information is impaired. For some students getting enough sleep at night is a genuine problem.
8. Stay positive, revise with friends and just try to be positive during this special month.
Good luck to all those taking their exams this year.