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If you are sitting with your child to help prepare for the exams...

As a parent, quite a few people take an active interest in their child’s education, especially during exam time. If as a parent you are doing that, kudos to you. It will certainly bolster your child’s confidence. If the parent can take a few days leave from work and sit with their children exclusively it will be great. When you can take leave for all kinds of occasion why not during your child's exams especially if it is Boards like tenth or twelfth?

There will be only some subjects where your child will need help. Ask them. They would be confident of tackling a few subjects on their own (often languages) and they would need help with others like Maths, Science and Social Studies, Economics or EVS etc. Help them only in those subjects.

Children are often asked to read a lesson multiple times under the belief that the more times they study the lesson the better they will remember it. This is often a fallacy. The better way to tackle learning and understanding is to make the child read the lesson once and then answer the questions based on the lessons. If they don’t know the answer, make them find out the answer by searching the lesson. Making a child answer questions based on a lesson is the best way for the child to increase their understanding. Make them write the answers rather than just orally tell the answers. The mechanical act of writing what you know helps retain more in memory.

Just go chapter wise in revising with them. Make them explain the lessons to you. After answering the questions based on the lesson then go to the next chapter. Take a break after each lesson. There is only so much continuous reading that a child can do. Even if you are able to tackle three-four chapters in a day, you can easily complete the whole syllabus in a week’s time.

Then download the previous years’ questions papers and make them answer that as if they are writing the exam. Often children, teachers, parents focus on answering the one mark questions first. The idea is that they can get some marks quickly as answering these questions is fast. I have found that if there are 30 one mark questions, it is very difficult for many students to answer a majority of them. The answers to these questions can come from any corner of the book and remembering all the obscure parts of the lesson is very difficult for most students. When they realize that they don’t know the answers to 10 or more questions, panic sets in for the students and they feel they don’t know anything. They feel they have not read enough and the negative self-talk goes into a spiral. When they come to tackle the 5 and 10 mark answers they come with their confidence sapped.

When I have made students not read the one mark questions but go directly for the 5 and 10 mark questions, I have seen the students perform better. There are choices in 5 and 10 mark sections. The student if they studied decently they can answer a good part of it. Once they complete these sections they can go to the one mark questions. Remember that a partly answered question in the 5-10 mark section gets them some marks. Spelling errors may be ignored in these sections whereas in the one mark questions often there are no partial marks and spelling errors are treated as wrong answers. Teach the children to hunt the bigger game first then they can come to the small fry. If they have answered the higher mark questions losing out on the one mark questions will not make a difference.


*Revise the lessons by reading them once and answering questions base on the lessons. Answer as many questions as possible.

*Hunt for the answers to the question, don’t read the entire lesson again and again.

*Answer at least the last five years question papers

*Understand the way to tackle the question paper by answering the higher mark question first.

**Most important: Be serious about studying but have a light-hearted approach. Don’t make the study session torture. Make it fun for your children. Take breaks. The children are stressed don’t add to it by making the exam about your self, reflections on your parenting etc. Take it easy.

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