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Prepare Your Child To Ace Assessments (I)

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I just got off the call with one of my bestie’s daughters. She’s secured admission into the university of her choice in the US. Prior to that, she had attended a university at home for a semester. I was curious to know how her new learning environment differed with the erstwhile one. Like expected, she mentioned to me that the home survival strategy is way not the same as that of the US. Back at home, assessments were far in between and you could just crash it all in within a few hours of intense study and ace the assessment. Again, this has the downside- if you flunked the assessment for whatever reason, it may be too late to self-correct or apply any remedial- it’s an automatic carry-over.

In the US, she realised that the ground was set rolling immediately and learning activities were instant with planned assignments from day 1. Applying her naija sense, she thought to leave the work till later in the night and hello…she saw herself having to work late into the night, depriving herself of sleep! Your guess is as good as mine- nature came calling the next day in class and it was a battle to keep her head high… the next day’s assignment were lying in wait and it was obvious that the crash-in-one-night-method wouldn’t work so well in a place like the US!

Thank God she’s way more than your average student- a high flier, as a matter of fact. She was quick o identify that the home strategy wouldn’t serve her here- assignments are to be delved into as soon as they are received and an ample amount of rest is required to keep steady and balanced for the next day.

In her words, the constant drill of assignment keeps students focused and on their toes and helps them realise way early, any arrears of struggle, so a workable action plan could be generated for timely intervention.

It’s important to start thinking and working on the study habits of our children from a young age. We don’t want to wait for a bad test grade to take action. Here are some tips to support your child taking tests at any age.

Encourage Consistency

Homework and studying should be a regular activity, so that preparing for a test is never a last-minute cram session. Test taking is a skill, which means it requires practice.

You want your child to have a set study schedule that you revisit periodically to make sure it fits your life and your child’s life. Ideally, your child spends time every night reviewing concepts learned in school, in addition to doing any homework.

If study time is part of your child’s day, preparing for a test will simply be a regular activity. I recall in my secondary school days, as a result of the below expectation performance in mathematics, my school launched what was then referred to as ‘maths hour’. The whole idea was that at that hour, everyone was to commit the time to working out mathematical problems. A notebook was designated for that purpose and it was often assessed as the Maths project of the term.

I took the practice to heart and almost instantly, my grades in mathematics sky-rocketed. From being an average student, I soon climbed the ladder to rank among the ace students. I would consistently work all the problems and anyone, which was beyond my comprehension; I would refer to my support group of friends who together, we would brainstorm and keep our heads focused on the problem until we cracked it down.

I took this attitude on with me when I entered senior classes and developed physics and chemistry hours where I focused on not just studying, but tackling problems in those subjects. I reaped the effort. Standardised assessment times became a work over- no anxiety, no stress, loads of confidence. My consistency paid off! Being a tried and proven strategy, I highly recommend that we help build this strategy into our children’s routine. Even when we do not have the luxury of one hour per day, how about half an hour, or a third? And watch their competence shoot up!



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