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O’Level & A ‘Level: How to Support Your Child Through a Major Exam Year

January 22, 2021 | By Yi Xuan

As another new year rolls around, another new cohort of students will be facing a major examination this year. Is that your child this year?

The prospect of taking the O’Level and A ‘Level examinations is a daunting one for many youths, and it is especially so for many Singapore students who suffer from high levels of anxiety when it comes to tests and grades!

Knowing that it will be a stressful year ahead, how can parents help to alleviate some of that stress and provide support for them?

Here are 6 tips to consider:

Manage Your Own Expectations

First and foremost, it is important to get your own expectations in order. Parental expectations are easily one of the top stressors for students.

Being told to “get top grades”, “come in first in class” or “get only straight As” can place unnecessary pressure on your child.

Start by understanding that not every child will be the best at everything. Everyone has their own strengths and weakness. Start by understanding what their strengths and weakness are and calibrate your expectations accordingly.

Help Them Discover Their Strengths and Weakness

This is a good exercise to go through with your child for two simple reasons:

    1. It helps them understand what they need to work on to improve by the end of the year
    2. It gives them an important sense of support from you.

Take the time to go through past years’ examinations, or tests to uncover subjects and topics they are better in and those they might need more help in.
Once uncovered, help them to consider re-adjusting the amount of time and effort required to review and revise those topics – spending more time and resources to build up on the weaker areas.

Ask and Get Them the Help They Need

Have a chat with them about what type of help they might require to achieve their goals for the major exams.

Do they need you to help check their homework? Do they require your help in coming up with a revision plan? Or do they feel like they need external help like tuition on their weaker subjects?

The earlier you do this the more effective it is for them. In fact, it would be ideal to start asking your child this question at the end of every school term, so you can plan ahead to get them the help they need – whether it might be assessment/guidebooks or engaging a tutor for them.

The better prepared they are, the less stress they will face during the exams.

Encourage Good Studying Habits

Encourage them to develop good studying habits throughout the year that can help reduce stress as the exams come around:

Aside from studying, also make sure they keep to a balanced lifestyle that includes sufficient time for rest and play – after all they need some outlets to help relieve all that stress from studying!

Motivate Them

Nonetheless, there is only so much you can do as a parent to encourage and give them external support.

At the end of the day, it is only if they have the intrinsic motivation to perform well that they will work hard to achieve their goals. So how can you help them develop this intrinsic motivation?

Keep an Open Communication Channel

Last but not least, ensure you communicate and have regular check-ins with them. Help them feel comfortable coming to you if they need to share any worries or stress about the examinations or learning in school.

Having that listening ear is extremely essential in helping students manage their stress. Avoid criticising or getting upset with them during this difficult period since it will only add to their stressors.

Need Urgent Help to Prepare Your Child for O’Level and A ‘Level?

At the New Dawn Learning Studio, we specialize in Maths, Chemistry, and Physics Tuition for secondary school and junior colleges.

Our specialized O’Level and A’Level tutors are both invited authors for Ten Year Series collaborations, with many years of experience and proven track record from our graduated students:

Want to learn how we can help your child be O’Level or A’Level ready? Drop us a message to learn about our group tuition classes and teaching methodology.

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