wikiHow to Help Your Child Prepare for Exams

Taking an exam for the first time can be a nerve-racking experience for a young student which can highly affect his or her grades. While you can't take your child's exam for them, you can help them study and provide a supportive environment.


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    Be prepared! Be well versed with the 4 P's - "Preparation Prevents Poor Performance". The most effective way of alleviating the stress brought on by tests and exams is to be well prepared.
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    Cover all the relevant material. Organize and timetable the period running up to exams. Help your child write down the topics they have to cover – then divide them by the days left until exams begin. This way, they’ll be sure to cover all their subjects, not just their favourite ones!
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    Practice answering questions. The last stage of revision should involve practice in answering examination questions in the time allowed. It’s important that your child not only knows their work, but is able to regurgitate that information in the allocated time span of the exam.
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    Take time out for regular breaks. Recognize that concentration falls off after certain amount of time. This can vary from person to person, but a short break is a good idea every 60 or 90 minutes. A brisk walk is a great way to recharge the batteries.
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    Eat to improve concentration. Feed the body and you feed the mind. Omega 3 fish oils are said to be an aid to concentration. Make sure they eat healthily and regularly and don't let them skip meals.
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    Rest the mind. Make sure your child gets a good night’s sleep. Give them time to wind down if they’ve been studying in the evening. Let them watch a bit of TV, have a warm drink and a read before trying to go to sleep.


  • At the end of the day, you can insist that your child stays in and spends a certain amount of time in front of their books but you can’t make them study. Take the time to talk to your children about the importance for them of doing well. They have to want to do it for themselves. If they don’t work hard and fail, it will be a salutary lesson to them that they are ultimately responsible for themselves and that it usually takes an effort to succeed in life.
  • Remember that cheating can land your child in serious trouble and s/he can face consequences such as disqualification, a mark of F or a 0, and if severe s/he could be expelled from college or university and less likely to excel and/or land a job/career. It can cost your child his/her friends and, if you condone or encourage it, it could cost you your child's trust. Remember cheating gets you nowhere!
  • If you know of anyone cheating or doing any form of academic dishonesty of any kind, report it to a teacher or an invigilator.
  • You can't do the work for your child.
  • Warn your child to never cheat in exams; this is called academic dishonesty. Cheating is just not looking to the person on the right/left/front/behind you and looking at their answers. Cheating can also mean:

    • getting someone to do your work for you and say it's yours,
    • sneaking a peek in the answer book or the answers page
    • writing answers on your hands, passing crib sheets, having them on your mobile phone
    • taking other things into the examination which are not allowed, e.g., taking in a calculator when it says "no calculators in the exam"
    • altering answers, passages, words or marks
    • passing off someone else's words, thoughts and ideas as your own. This is a form of telling lies called plagiarism, (not only done on pen and paper, it can also mean downloading something off the Internet and saying it's all your own work when it isn't).
  • Make sure your child doesn't let anyone copy his/her work. Have him/her tell the cheater to always do the work in their own words, their own writing and alone.

Things You'll Need

  • Somewhere quiet for your child(ren) to work.
  • An agreed time when the TV is turned off and no phone calls or instant messaging is allowed.
  • Healthy food and snacks to aid concentration.
  • Old papers to enable your child to practice answering exam questions.

Sources and Citations

Article Info

Categories: Tests and Exams