Grade 4 is a tough year in the South African school system. Not only is it the first year kids start rotating classes, but it is also their first formal school exams. Here are some tips that helped us with our exam preparation.
At the end of May, we had a 2-hour session with an educational psychologist to assist and guide us with the best study methods, for exam preparation, for Logan. It is definitely something I would recommend for any child. Not only did it give Logan insight into why we needed to repeat the work over and over again, but it also gave him insight into the way his brain works.
Based on the three different learning styles, traditionally recognised by psychologists, Logan was classified as mainly a kinesthetic learner, which means he needs to actively be doing something in order to engage in learning. The other learning style associated with Logan is the visual learner. Visual learners need to see the information in order to learn.
The aim was to combine the information provided in the study methods session with what I learned earlier this year about executive function. In order for Logan to achieve and feel success in the exams.
In other interesting news:
Did you know studying is considered a skill and summarising or making exam notes is a completely different skill? Depending on your child, it may be worth it for you as the parent to allow them to learn the skills concurrently. I.e. First exam season, teach your child how to study and allow them to master the skill. Second exam season, teach them how to summarise the exam content and study.
Related to Exam Preparation:
What worked for us?
- I got Logan to show me his back flips during the breaks to get the blood flowing properly. Towards the end of the day, yesterday, he has started taking an old bicycle apart for the bike chain and bolts he needed to use for another one of his personal projects. Spending the break, actively doing something by either engaging his body or mind, proved to energise him enough to go back to the books after a short break.
- Over the weekend, I allowed Logan to plan our study time for the day. He was determined to study for 2 hours, followed by an hour break and then a second 2-hour study session. The fact that I agreed with his recommendation and used it as a guide, gave me a little favour with Logan. In the end, we took multiple short breaks in our 2-hour sessions, but Logan could see the end – or really an hour long break – in sight This gave me the upper hand during the study sessions
- Logan is a determined and stubborn little boy. By working against a self-created deadline, we tried our best to stick to the goal and achieved more in a short amount of time. We decided we would work through all his science exam content in one afternoon and pushed to finish the content. The results? (1.) The taste of success and (2.) resting after you’ve really worked hard, is the best kind of rest.
Where we failed and corrected behaviour?
- At first, we read through the content that needed to be summarised and then only summarised the information. Which I think in most cases may be the best for all students. For Logan, it makes the whole process way too long and drawn out. So instead we started reading and summarising at the same time.
This worked for us for a couple of reasons:
- Initially reading all the content was way too much effort and I ended up reading every second paragraph.
- Once we started reading and summarising, Logan was tasked with reading all the information. My task was to keep up by writing faster.
- We started studying for math too late, which means we didn’t get to practice nearly as much as I wanted to before the exams. I also realised the importance of double checking all math he does in the classroom on a weekly basis. Logan lost a couple of math rules and enforcing these rules last minute was stressful.
- Oliver was motivated by Logan’s example to study, which is great for Oliver, but it means he keeps pushing in and wanting guidance with his ‘work‘. The weekends with his dad helped greatly, but I will need to think of a way forward for the next exam season.
- Keeping Logan motivated during the school week remains a challenge. Here I need lots of guidance from the seasoned moms!!
This is my list for now. Exams finish on Friday. I am sure, I’ll do a follow-up post at some time. What exam preparation tips can you add to my list?