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6 tips for parents of students taking the board exams

Last updated on: February 23, 2012 15:09 IST

6 tips for parents of students taking the board exams

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Divya Nair

Even small deeds of parents can work wonders for their child's performance in a board exam.

Board exams are the time when children look up to their parents for help and support.

We spoke to a few parents whose students have successfully cleared the board exams to understand what they did right for their child and here's what they told us.

These 6 tips are tried and tested for success and hence, crucial for every parent to know.

1. Don't compare your children with others

Praveena Aher, a parent from Mumbai says she never compared her son's marks with his friends and tells us why other parents must also do the same.

"My son was an average student. He loves to play games and stay outdoors, but when it comes to academics, he wouldn't score beyond 70 percent. Even during exams he would not study beyond 2 hours continuously. He would go out, talk to his friends on the phone and come back to study. Although his father seemed worried that their son is taking the class 12 exam too lightly, I would ask him to relax and trust him."

When the results were declared, Aher, who is a housewife, says she was happy that their son Avneesh scored 74 percent.

"Avneesh was weak in biology, but he scored well in his favourite subjects -- physics and chemistry. He got admission in KJ Somaiya College of Engineering because he scored well in AIEEE (All India Engineering Entrance Exam)."

"Board exams are not the be-all and end-all of life. Sometimes we have to believe in our kids and let them do things in their way. If you pester them constantly, they will put you in silent mode," she jokes.

Reader Invite: Dear Readers, How did you cope with the pressure of board exams? Do you have last-minute study tips or stress-busting strategies that could help students and parents beat the nerves?

Send in your advice to getahead@rediff.co.in with 'Board Exam Tips' in the subject line and we will publish the best entries right here.

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2. Group study makes learning fun

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In 2008, Uma Madhavan took her daughter Priya to three different tutors but none of them could help her overcome the fear of algebra.

"Priya is a very smart student, but every time she saw an algebra paper in the exam, she would get jitters. She used to tell me that she would forget the formula while reading the problem."

Finally, the mother of two sought help from two of Priya's batchmates from her college, who agreed to group study algebra.

"Priya's friends would come home after college and spend 2-3 hours a week solving algebra problems with her. She started enjoying the sessions and even her friends' parents called me to appreciate the idea."

She says group study is a good stress buster for those who are not able to concentrate under pressure.

"The girls would challenge each other to solve problems and helped each other solve difficulties. Two months before the exam, each of them decided on a task -- one of them had to compile the list of important formula, another had to compile most repeated questions while Priya had to prepare a list of most difficult questions. They would eventually share these notes with each other."

Priya Madhavan scored 70 in algebra and 69 in geometry in March 2009. She is currently pursuing textile engineering in Nagpur.




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3. Have dinner together

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Merlin Fernandes was a bright student since school. But after scoring 92 percent in class 10, she sought admission to study science at Ruia College in Matunga, which was over 50 kilometres away from where she stayed.

For two years, Merlin would wake up at 5 am every day, finish her studies and get ready for college. After attending the lectures in college, she would leave for her coaching centre in Dadar. Her performance dropped to 69 percent in class 11.

"Ever since she joined the coaching centre, Merlin would barely be at home," complained Evita Fernandes who runs a playschool in Ambernath.

Unlike her other friends whose colleges were close to their homes, Merlin spent a lot of time travelling to and from college. In the second year it took a toll on her health. Often she would complain of headaches and simply go to bed without having dinner.

Food was usually the last thing on her mind. But a month before her examinations, Evita decided that the rest of the family wait for her for dinner. It worked! Merlin found support in her family through her dinner sessions.

"At first, Merlin's 8-year-old sister was reluctant to wait until 10 pm, but when I explained to her that her sister was going to bed hungry, she readily agreed to help. Exams are times when families should extend their love and support to children. Whether or not it affects their performance, we must do everything we can to help our children cope better," Evita says.

Merlin scored 73 per cent in 2008 and went on to pursue BSc Computer Science.




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4. Don't discuss a bad paper

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Krishna Kamath, whose both sons appeared for their board exams last year, says it is important not to discuss a paper after the exam, especially if you realise that they have performed badly.

"Last year, my elder son could not finish his English paper on time and was very upset. All his friends could not believe when he told them that he could not attempt the essay and a few grammar questions due to lack of time. We could see that he was very distracted and often kept reminding his mother about the mistakes he made and how he could have performed better."

But the father stepped in for his son and told him not to discuss the paper again.

"I told him that by discussing the paper again and again, his performance wasn't going to improve. Instead he should focus on the next exam and work harder on the core subjects."

In fact, Kamath's younger son took his father's advice seriously and refused to discuss any of his papers.

"Although it was the first time he was appearing for a board exam, he would not say anything beyond 'good' 'okay' or 'nice'. When I asked him if a particular paper was easy, he would ask me to patiently wait for the results."

Kamath's elder son scored 74 percent in HSC exam while his younger son scored about 87 percent in SSC exam in 2011.




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5. Keep the TV volume low

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Television is a major distraction during board exams, says Praveena Aher, who always kept the volume low while her son studied in the other room.

"Most of us live in matchbox sized apartments in the cities. So it is impossible to avoid distractions, especially noise from television and kids playing outside.

Watching television on high volume will not only distract the child but will also give them an impression that he is being denied entertainment that is accessed by every one else in the family.

"Avoid watching serials and reality shows during exam time," adds Meena Shahane, another parent.

"Watching news is alright, but do not watch comedy shows and all," suggests Aher.




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6. Do not disconnect internet service during exams

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Meena Shahane who works in a shipping firm tells us why she regretted the idea of disconnecting the internet service two weeks before the board exams last year.

"After the preliminary examinations got over in January, my son would spend most of his time on the internet. He would spend hours playing and downloading games. Whenever I asked him what he was doing on the computer, he would tell me that they were clearing doubts, but I could only see him playing games. So, two weeks before the exam, I disconnected the internet service."

But one week later, Shahane's friends told her about some useful sites where students could download past question papers with answers, model question papers and get information about the new online admission procedure after the exams.

"I called the internet service provider but they told me that it would take them another week to set it up again.

I really regretted my decision at that point of time. Although I tried to download some papers from the internet, it was too late to begin, but it really helped."

Agrees Krishna Kamath who says his younger son was asked by his teacher to use the internet to download essays and poems to practice and prepare for the English exam.

Reader Invite: Dear Readers, How did you cope with the pressure of board exams? Do you have last-minute study tips or stress-busting strategies that could help students and parents beat the nerves?

Send in your advice to getahead@rediff.co.in with 'Board Exam Tips' in the subject line and we will publish the best entries right here.




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