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Class X boards: Parents keep exam stress at bay!
Top Careers & You
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January 16, 2008

Testing' times are here again for children and parents alike. While some kids perform better under pressure, others totter as their poor nerves are stretched to the limit. While some amount of stress pushes students to put in that extra effort, too much stress can prove counter-productive.

That is where the parents come in. Timely parental intervention can have a soothing effect on the child and save the situation from getting out of hand. Here are some tips given by examination experts from for the parents of students taking their board exams this year.

Do you talk to your child about the status of his/her exam preparation or, more importantly, does she/he share the vital details with you? If the answer is no, this is the right time to sit down with your child and discuss the progress made.

You need to do your homework before this discussion, which would involve going through his textbooks to get a broad idea of the syllabus. Discuss the preparation with the motive to chart out an action plan for the coming days.

The idea is not at all to criticise the preparation so far or push the child harder. Sort the chapters into three categories: well prepared, half prepared and unprepared. Create to-do lists accordingly. Make sure that your child doesn't feel that you are taking control of his preparations; you are there for support and help, ensure that she/he understands that you can be banked on.

Make a to-do list
A to-do list is an action plan that the student can follow for the coming days to prepare for the exams in a systematic manner. While charting a to-do list bear in mind that every action is to be marked with a realistic but challenging timeline.

The priority should be assigned to half prepared chapters and mastering them before moving to the unprepared chapters. Make sure that there is sufficient time to practice model papers once all chapters are well prepared.

Revision style
According to Howard Gardner, there are a number of different ways by which an individual learns, what is called multiple intelligence. It is vital that you should know your child's dominant learning style.

Most students know their revision style very well by now, after years of taking tests and exams. Some do it by reading aloud, some by writing, while others do it by drawing mind maps, etc. If this method has worked for them in the past don't try to modify it. For your reference, experts from have developed revision notes for test takers.

Past exams & model papers
Once your child has prepared each chapter well he/she should practice at least 10-15 model test papers. The first half of the tests should be practiced without setting any time cap and the last 3-4 tests should be done with a time cap in mind.

Purchase or download only those tests that have a detailed marking scheme as per the Board pattern.

Schedule regular breaks
Make adequate provisions for short and long breaks during
revision. The attention span of a student while learning theory is initially about an hour and as the hours progress it reduces to half-an-hour.

It is essential that there is at least one long break (about an hour-long) to allow students to participate in some type of recreational activity after a stretch of around 3-4 hours of study. However, when the child is doing math or numerical problems, the attention span does tend to be longer.

The importance of incentives
A productive day at the books or good marks scored in a test calls for a family celebration. This will keep students motivated and focused on achieving more. It will also make the study routine a little more fun. There is no harm in treating them to a movie after a challenging task is completed.

Be positive
Always be positive with your child. Never blame or unduly criticise him/her. Lend a helping hand and assure your child that you are always around for any crisis they might face.

As a parent, you have to give your child your best. Children sometimes feel down in the dumps on not getting the expected results. It is critical that you show them the value of a positive attitude.

Instead of just offering a shoulder to cry on, parents should discuss how to overcome the issues that are cropping up -- academically, emotionally, practically. It is only you who can bail your child out of pressure cooker situations. Encouragement and support should be offered at all times.

Nutrition wise
As many studies will tell you, breakfast is vital for a healthy mind. Do not permit your child to skip breakfast. A good breakfast would be a mixture of carbohydrate sources. Protein is essential for good brain functioning. Multi-vitamins also help.

If your child is anemic, please note that iron deficiency reduces concentration. Avoid stimulants like caffeine and keep your child away from junk food and fizzy drinks.

Work towards making you and your child a winning team!

Top Careers & You ( has been preparing national and international candidates for high-end tests viz. GRE, GMAT, SAT, NTSE and Class X Boards since 1998.

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