Jan 31, 2013

how to prepare them for exams

The season of scholarship and selective school exams is well and truly here and if you like us, have not been having your child tutored, I believe we can still get them ready.
I am assuming you already have your selective school applications in and your scholarship applications either in or ready to go.

Some things to consider-

-What kind of scholarship is your child trying to get? If you are going for an 'all rounder' scholarship they need to be able to do many things well. If the application also asks for a portfolio to be submitted then gather as many references and examples of your childs work as you can. Remember they want to  see the whole child.

-I believe in fish oil supplements.  It just might be the difference between pen chewing leg bouncing fidgiting and your childs ability to focus during those stressful hours ahead. There are other supplements but be mindful that an eleven year old is not necessarily able to take the adult dosage or particular ingredient.

-A balanced diet with a good selection of unprocessed slow release carbohydrates and proteins. Adding a healthy juice or smoothie (not a fat creamy sweetened one) to your childs breakfast will also help to see them through the morning well. If you suspect your child is not getting all the fruit and vegetables they need then a green smoothie is a great way to start their day off with breakfast.

-Don't deprive them of treats during this time or they will start growling at you I find. Just make sure you offer them in moderation and, whenever possible, make them yourself so you know exactly what is going in their mouth. Wholemeal grains and limited sugar can still be absolutely delicious.

-Set a good sleep routine. I find this one hard as an adolescent doesn't fancy turning the light out when you say. Ours would rather read until he falls over and that simply means he can't get up in the morning. Its a choice. If they want to read for say an hour, then they need to go to bed earlier so that when you say lights out at 8.30 it will happen without too much battle. I find 9pm is the latest this can happen before the morning turns into a running late catastrophe.

-Practice practice practice. You can buy the books certainly but there are many practice tests online. A very bright and able child can buckle during these exams. They are written in a way to really filter out the kids who can and those who can't so make sure your child is familiar with the "language" of the tests.

Some of these you will need to purchase online and then be issued a login number :

ACER- $25 will get you access to one test. They mark the multiple choice section and the test does not refresh.
EXCEL- $59 for a full range of tests  
Practice tests-FREE and a good range of online tests that you can mark yourself once downloaded.

I actually really loathe this culture of tutoring our children we seem to be engulfed in. Unless your child is struggling, it puts the naturally able children on the backseat. I wonder at which point you stop? If they receive the scholarship or the selective placement and were tutored to get there, you then have a commitment to tutoring for the duration of their school life. Thats extremely expensive apart from the extra pressure your child is under as a matter of routine.
I also believe that a childs tutoring should be declared when going for these scholarships and selective placements. An untutored child who misses out because he was five points behind the boy who was tutored for a year seems far more deserving of the place don't you think?    

I wish you all good luck! Its hard for the parents too so remember to take a breath. If they get in it will all be worth it.