Understand the working of cramming-it is the result of child resorting to last minute preparation for the exam with no time left to understand the topic or is lazy to use his mental energy to understand the topic or needs help to understand the topic
Most children resort to cramming as a method of memorizing at the time of examination. But cramming is an example of non-reproduce able memory (it means child is unable to reproduce what is relevant at the time of examination). As long as questions are straight and expected the crammer does not have any problem attempting them and he can attempt with ease. But if the question is twisted and requires reproduction of the material crammed by the child in different way the child is unable to attempt. His memory goes blank . For instance , if the child crams A is the father of B and B lived in 19th century and that C lived in 18th century . If the child who has crammed this information is asked who lived earlier A or C .He will go blank and won’t be able to attempt this question as he is memorizing the information without understanding the interconnections between the data and has not integrated the data.
Moreover, it is important to know whatever material is being crammed is easily forgettable. In cramming there is no relation or organization of data. The Only link is the continuation of words (i.e. this word comes after that word).If that path is blocked (i.e. if any one word is forgotten) whole memory crumbles down.
Before we discuss on how to improve grades let us first answer a simple question: “How much grades on average our child is managing to get ?”It means, this is the natural calibre of the child and this much marks he is able to achieve without much effort.
Let us assume that our child is getting on an average 75% of marks and our target is that he should be achieving above 90% marks or may be 100%. Now don’t make him think that he has to achieve 100% result but let him change his thinking to that with whatever effort he is already putting he is able to achieve 75% marks, his target is to achieve just 25% more .He has to put extra effort to achieve only 25% more. If he thinks “Oh! I have to achieve 100% result. I need to work very hard to achieve this ” .The target appears to be like a mountain. This process of thinking can be a bit categorised into negative thinking. Now take the second scenario “Oh! I am able to manage 75% percent marks , with a little bit of more effort to what I am putting I can achieve 25% more than what I am already getting” . Now this can be a bit categorised to positive thinking.
With a little twist in our thinking our goals seem to be achievable. A little twist in thinking makes a lot of difference. Let us as parents motivate our children to achieve better results, with a little change in the thinking process a lot can be achieved .
Thoughts are powerful tools that can do wonders in our childrens’ lives. With right and positive thoughts a lot has been achieved. Our thoughts are the stepping stone towards success in our lives .All great things in this world have germinated as a result of a seed of right thought.
Secondly, let us break the target into steps .
Wherever your child stands in the journey motivate him to achieve steps which seem to be achievable.
Let us take the example of a toddler who knows how to crawl. He can manage very well with crawling, so that is his level .Now we can motivate him to the next level of standing and may be walking little bit with the help of support and finally to the level of walking and running .But if we set targets of running for him it may demotivate the child and he may think that he won’t be able to run any time in his life. Journey of learning is also in steps .If your child is low achiever.
If he manages to get on an average may be 40% don’t set high targets of may be 100% immediately. Let him take baby steps and walk slowly towards the target of 100%. Motivate him to work a little harder than what he is already doing to achieve just 20%-25% more, once he knows what is required to achieve just 20% -25% more than his ability, he will form the habit of doing this much extra effort. Once this base is formed and he is comfortable in this zone motivate him to achieve next target .
EVERYTHING IS ACHIEVABLE IN LIFE –THOUGHT POWER AND RIGHT APPROACH CAN DO WONDERS
Encouraging children to take down notes helps them to retain attention in class and stops their mind from wandering. In fact, when children are taking notes they are taking note of or paying attention to what is being taught in class. Taking notes is different from making notes .Making notes is an activity in which the children make notes to answer specific questions for the exams and is an activity associated with self study. When your child is taking notes he is in fact taking note of and paying attention to what is being taught in the class and is thinking and assimilating the information in writing.
When your child doesn’t takes notes there are greater chances of
• his losing interest in the class
• him loosing on the intricacies of the topic taught by the teacher
• him loosing track of the topics that triggered his thought process
• him being able to keep track of the topics that interested him
• him not being able to keep track of the topics in which he thought he might be delving into more details later on
• loosing on important points which he thought he needs to remember
When taking notes the student adds various add-ons such as question marks , exclamation marks, some figures that trigger his memory of the class when he goes through it later. Sometimes some thoughts get triggered during the class that need more clarification .Taking notes helps your child to keep record of such thoughts and points that need more explanation or clarification from the teacher’s side so that he can go to the teacher later and discuss and get more information and better explanation on it.
This discussion will help your child to attempt exams in a better way and get rid of unnecessary phobias.The process of attempting exams can be divided into three logical steps:
1. Evening before the exam
2. The exam day
3. After the exam is over
All these steps are discussed one by one
1.EVENING BEFORE THE EXAM DAY:
Tell your child not overload his brain just one day before the exam. (Note: The preparation for exams has to take place throughout the year and in structured manner). Encourage him to move out in fresh air and do some physical exercise eg . walking, running etc. Physical exercise and fresh air helps to rejuvenate the mind and enhances its working.
Your child should be aware of the examination hall and if possible should have visited it once before. This will remove the unnecessary tension from the child’s mind.
2.THE EXAM DAY:
(A)PERIOD BEFORE THE EXAM
Things and steps to follow normally and especially if your child feels tensed up in the examination hall:
1.Tell him to do some deep breathing exercise in the morning in the fresh air and he may also do some physical exercise.
2.Tell him to check for necessary things- pens , pencils ,eraser ,sharpener ,scale, calculator, geometry box if required and may be hall ticket if required etc.
3.Tell him to boost up his morale by giving himself positive affirmations.
Affirmations can be of the form:
“Yes, I can do it today , I have put in lot of hard work”
“Yes, I will do it, it is my day today”
“I am well prepared for this moment, I have put in a lot of hard work , I will do it”
You can also boost up his confidence levels by giving him positive affirmations.
4.Encourage him to reach the examination hall before time, relax, familiarise with the surroundings and atmosphere and do some deep breathing exercise in order to relieve tension if any .
5.Tell him not to compare his preparation with that of others.
(B)ONCE THE QUESTION PAPER IS RECEIVED
(a)Read the question paper carefully and thoroughly
(b)Note the timings, number of questions to be attempted, time allocation
(c)Plan how to answer the paper.
GOLDEN RULE TO DECIDE WHICH QUESTIONS TO ATTEMPT FIRST:
The important rule to follow while attempting the question paper is that first attempt those questions that the child knows well and is confident of. This helps to boost his morale and gives good impression to the examiner who is correcting his paper. First impression matters a lot.
POINTS TO BE TAKEN CARE OF WHILE ANSWERING THE QUESTIONS
1. Make a plan of how he is going to answer his question.
2.Be concise and precise.
3.Presentation of answer should be attractive.
4.As far as possible repetitions should be avoided while answering the questions.
5.Tell him to not to use of slangs and short forms.
6.Tell him not to unnecessarily try to exaggerate the same point – he needs to remember examiner is not going to weigh his answer sheet but he is going to mark it for correct and precise information.
7.After completion of the writing tell him to scan the question (check for spellings etc.)
(C) AFTER THE EXAM:
Tell him not to discuss the paper with his friends after the exam especially if he has exams on the days to follow. This can dampen his morale if he has made some silly mistakes or not done well .This can create a ripple effect and affect his performance in the next exams also.
[An effective memory enhancement technique]
If your child is not performing up to the mark a very effective technique is to revisit his day in the school/college as well as self study periods. Even if the child is performing well the technique of revisiting will help enhance his memory and help him maintain his performance.
Steps for guided revisiting: (Revisiting school /college hours)
Tell your child to
1. Close his eyes.
2. Take deep breadth 5 times.
3.Tell him to go to the time when he entered the class in the morning .Tell him to feel the entry of his teacher. Tell him to quietly go through what she taught today (what ever he can remember).
4.Similarly go through each period till the last period and revisit each and every period .
5.Tell him to slowly open his eyes.
Make sure revisiting becomes a habit for your child and is inculcated as one of his daily routines. Tell him to do it everytime he comes back from school/college. It takes not more than 10 minutes of your child’s precious time. Believe me these 10 minutes can do miracles for him.
Precaution or point to remember: Revisiting helps if your child has been attending the class with interest and concentration and has been listening to what his teachers have taught with concentration.
Encourage your child to be attentive in class and listen to the teacher with interest and concentration.
Revising self study hours:
While your child sits for self studying tell him to follow following steps:
1. Take deep breadth 10 times.
2. Close his eyes and remember whatever he had studied last time in the topic he is going to cover.
3. Slowly tell him to open his eyes.
4. Now he can start with his work.
5. At the end of the study session tell him to revisit his study session in the same way and summarise in his mind whatever he has studied.
Self study sessions should start and end with the revisiting exercise.
The whole exercise takes 5-10 minutes of your child’s precious time on either side (starting of the session and the end of the session.)
Eating healthy food is very important for children. They need the energy to concentrate throughout the day not only for the classes but also for the extracurricular activities taking place. Mostly children are given heavy, hard to digest food and when they go and sit in the class or sit for self study sessions their attention and retention capacity goes very low. Food given to children should be such that the children do not feel sleepy after having it. Before important activities that require a lot of concentration and energy such as examinations, sports tournaments etc or during the self study periods the following categories of foods should be given to the children.
1. WHOLE GRAIN FOODS
Why whole grains are important?
Whole grains are rich in fibre and vitamins. They release the energy very slowly and the child feels full for longer. The child does not feel sleepy immediately after eating them as these foods release energy very slowly.
In this category choices can be whole wheat bread, whole wheat pasta, brown rice, broken wheat, oats, bran cereals.
2. Fruits and Vegetables
WHY fruits and vegetables
Fruits and vegetables contain vitamins, minerals and dietary fibre. They help the child to grow and develop and increase his vitality.
Fresh fruits and vegetables can easily be included for snacks and meals
Use as many different coloured fruits and vegetables as possible. Fruits and vegetables can be had as salads, whole fruit / vegetables, juices (fruits/vegetables juices –vegetable juices are always a better option as they contain less of sugars). It is always better to have whole fruits than juices as fruits have natural sugars and are more filling.
3. Proteins rich foods :
Why proteins are important?
Proteins help to build, maintain and replace the tissues of the body .Muscles, organs and immune system are mostly made up of proteins. Proteins are useful especially if there are increased energy requirements.
Sources of proteins
Eggs , nuts, beans , sprouted lentils or pulses such as peas, chickpeas ,chicken etc.
4. Low Fat dairy foods:
Why low fat dairy foods are important?
Low fat dairy foods provide the child with calcium and Vitamin D .
Sources for low fat dairy
Low fat cheese , Low fat yoghurt, skimmed milk, cow’s milk will also work
Water is the best beverage for children to drink. Children should be encouraged to drink lots of water. They should cut down on soft drinks, caffeine products such as tea and coffee .They can take fruit/vegetable juices one or two servings per day. Prefer freshly prepared juices as packaged juices contain more of additives and sugars. Vegetable juices are always preferable over fruit juices due to low sugar content.
FOODS STUDENTS NEED TO BE CAREFUL WITH:
Ice-cream, Cakes , chocolates, biscuits, cream, sugary drinks(including packaged juices) as all these foods are loaded with calories, fats and sugar.
PERFECT CHOICES FOR SCHOOL MEALS:
1. Always choose foods that are rich in proteins –cheese, beans, sprouted lentils, pulses , poultry, fish.
2. Don’t give -burgers, cakes , pastries, burgers everyday .
3. Choose at least one starchy food-potato, bread, rice, banana
4. Eat a piece of fruit.
5. Eat at least one portion of raw vegetables- as a part of salad.