Don’t stress

Help your child stress less before a test or an exam
By Tamlyn Vincent

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Part of helping your child to prepare for exams and tests is showing them how to deal with stress and anxiety. Gordon Smith, from a mental literacy organisation in Durban, says in a test situation, stress can affect your child’s ability to think clearly or impair their memory.
Try these tips to ensure they don’t stress too much before a test:
  • Eat well: Make sure your child has a healthy diet, with a variety of fruit, vegetables and proteins.
  • Exercise: Children who exercise three to four times a week should be more receptive to learning, so make sure they fit in some exercise while studying.
  • Good study habits: By helping them develop good study habits, they will learn the material better and be less anxious in the exam room. Children should prioritise what they should study by finding out which sections are more important. Help them draw up a good study timetable and stick to it. They shouldn’t leave studying to the last minute.
  • Be prepared: get your child to check with his teacher about what test is on what day and at what time.
  • Be organised: Create a comfortable study area, with everything they need, including the necessary notes and books.
  • Open communication: Encourage your child to talk to you about any concerns or fears they may have. If your child shows abnormal stress levels, talk to the teacher and work together to reduce this tension.
  • Make sure they get a good night’s sleep the night before the test.
  • Pack stationery and necessary items (like a calculator) the night before.
  • Give them a good breakfast that morning.
  • If the test is first thing, leave a little earlier to avoid any heavy traffic.
  • Discourage your children from discussing what they have learnt with friends before the test, as this may create more anxiety.
  • Remind your child to pace herself: If the test is an hour long, and worth 60 marks, there is a minute for each mark.

Good luck.

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