Sitting Common Entrance exams can be a very stressful time for many children. This is especially true if they struggle with exams or school work in general. Even for those children who glide through school with ease, there is a lot of material to revise. But there are ways to tiptoe through the revision minefield and stop the stress monster taking over.

Firstly have your child work on each topic well in advance (far earlier than you think) and memorise as much of the topic as possible. There are many topics that your child will need to learn when it comes to Common Entrance exams.  Get ahead of the game and start the learning process of each topic in advance. Oaka Books CE revision packs use three methods of learning in each one, increasing the long term memory recall needed for exams.  By learning each topic and memorising them as you go along, your child has enough time to learn without time pressure.

Repeat, repeat, repeat. How many times has your child told you they are revised by just reading through their notes? They have not revised, they have just read through their notes. Don’t fall for it! It might work for a few very lucky children but not for many. The Forgetting Curve is worth looking at here. This is a standard model for memory recall and makes complete, logical sense. It is based on a series of memory experiments back in 1885 by Professor Ebbinghaus. The results showed that, while we can recall 100% of information at the time of learning it, after just 2 days we remember about 65%; after 1 month it is down to just 20%! But, if we revise the information at least four times in a month we will retain around 80% of it. Food for thought when it comes to effective revision.

A large amount of your child’s time is probably taken up by homework throughout the school term. However, holidays are free time away from (most of) this. Using the holidays to catch up is a great way for your child to be prepared for next term, especially if they feel left behind. Just set aside a period of time each day throughout the holidays to learn some topics. Just 30 minutes x 10 days will suddenly magic an extra 5 hours of revision time.  Just think about how many hours can be gained over a longer holiday! This will work wonders for your child when they reach exam time. It will also help your child when they go back to school, by having more knowledge about topics that may be coming up in the syllabus. It will also help them stay in ‘working mode’ that so many children fall out of during a big holiday.   

A great way to stop revising for Common Entrance exams feeling like a chore is to make the revision fun! Any child will be willing to work and revise if what they’re doing is keeping them engaged and they are enjoying it at the same! A lot can be learnt through fun activities, such as active learning games and quizzes. Getting the whole family involved can make the experience less isolating too.

Finally, make sure your child has faith in their abilities! It is so important for your child to feel confident in what they can do. They should stay focused on the fact that they have done the best possible preparation and that is all anyone can ask of them. And the bottom line is that if it all goes wrong, the world will not come to an end!

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