How to Gear your children for the competitive exams?
How to Gear your children for the competitive exams?
Rise and compete
The competition is tough, are you up for the challenge?
Want to crack competitive exams? Here’s how you can prepare for the best results…
Every child’s potential is distinct, dynamic and diverse, hence the careers they pursue should reflect their interests, aptitude and potential.
Expecting the same result from every child is like expecting all the fruits to taste like mango. Having said that, in a highly competitive world of ours where future is generally decided on the results of competitive exams, it is our responsibility as parents and teachers to help our children identify their fields of interest and realise their full potential.
If dreams are to be pursued and futures are to be shaped through the results of competitive exams then it is our responsibility as elders to facilitate the preparations of our children and help them excel in exams.
Parents and teachers are key to shaping the personalities of the children, they are the sculptors who mould the imaginations of the young minds and help them pursue their dreams and aspirations. Having said that, we have to bear in mind that competitive exams are not the panacea for all ills, not cracking the exams is not the end of the world.
We have to give our best shot, make the best of preparations, and employ the best of strategies, but more importantly, we have to make sure our expectations are realistic.
But, even before that, we have make the right choices, not based on peer pressure or market trends, but purely based on our knowledge and interest in the subject.
Research shows that interest plays a great role in success. Higher the interest in a subject, greater the chance of the child working hard and succeeding.
In the Indian culture, parents or family members are known to be pushing children in a particular direction, in many cases forcing children to choose subjects they are not interested in, nor they are good at, the result of this is usually disastrous.
In cases where children even succeed to crack the exams, pursuing subjects they are not interested in, they have seen to be disoriented and disillusioned, eventually ending up as a failure.
Elders have a great role to play in this regard. Children posses a delicate and developing mind and on many occasions, specially under pressure, they are unable to process a lot of information and take the right decisions. Under these circumstances parents and teachers need to step in and reassure the children, giving them the much needed confidence to pursue their dreams!
Often, ahead of exams, parents worry more than the students, which adds more pressure on children. Parents have to make things easy for the children rather than making it harder.
In fact, exams should be a family affair, not in the way of becoming a burden on the children, but in the way of facilitating and taking care of the children’s needs.
What we mean is that the family routine should take into consideration the needs of the child’s preparations.
Family members, wherever possible, should help in the child’s learnings. Family members should also make sure the atmosphere at home is relaxed rather than intimidating. All of this helps children in having a greater focus and taking things easy.
But, before getting into the details of how to prepare, let’s try to understand what competitive exams are.
What are competitive exams?
Competitive exams are nothing but a process of assessing a candidate’s aptitude for a subject or a set of subjects. Whatever the subject, these exams are based on a certain standardised questionnaires, testing the child’s ability to understand, process and apply the relevant information.
So, to excel in these exams one has to prepare and perform in a way that you demonstrate to the examiner that you have the aptitude to excel in the subject and you are good enough to understand and master the field, whether it is medical, engineering, business or humanities.
Know the exam
- Once you have decided on the course to take, gather as much information as you can about the competitive exam you are planning to take to qualify for the course.
- You can access the information from newspapers, educational journals, university or government websites, teachers, career counsellors, or seniors who have already taken the particular course.
- Find out the best options in the chosen field, the opportunities it offers and the eligibility criteria. This helps you draw up an effective study plan.
Plan your study
- Proper planning is essential in achieving any goal in life. Bigger the goal and challenges, higher the efforts and plan. Your plan demonstrates your seriousness and interest in achieving the goal.
- Every plan should have short-term and long-term goals. Subjects, topics and lessons should be pursued based on daily, weekly and monthly schedules.
- While planning, you should keep in mind your strengths and weaknesses, your sleeping pattern and the best time for you to study.
- You should also divide your time between self study, group study (if that helps) and coaching.
- Maintain a journal and assess your progress on a daily, weekly and monthly basis.
- Be honest with yourself and stay true to your objective. Revise your plans based on your progress, as and when necessary.
Get the right resources
- No matter how sincere you are and how well you have planned, if you do not gather the right resources and material like textbooks, reference material, guides, mock question papers etc. there are chances that your best intentions and hard work will pay little dividends.
- In competitive exams, working smart is more important than working hard. More than memorising the material, understanding the key concepts is essential in handling unexpected or twisted questions.
- Make notes, maintain flowcharts and keep time for essential revisions. Your thoroughness could be the difference between you and the rest of your competitors.
Practice leads to perfection
- Competitive exams are not just about understanding the concepts, rather understanding the questions is more important. For this, one has to answer as many mock questions as possible and practise writing precise answers.
- In competitive exams speed is the key, so one has to practise writing the right answers in the allotted time. Practice will help boost your confidence and give you the right measure of your ability to deliver.
Warrior, not worrier
- All this might seem overwhelming. But, do not worry. Preparing for any competitive requires a certain level of dedication and maintaining high level of focus requires high level of self-discipline and this could take its toll on our mental health.
- Competition naturally leads to anxiety. It is normal to feel anxious leading up to the exam. Taking timely breaks is key to easing pressure and reducing anxiety.
- This is where communication becomes important, if you feel any unusual levels of fear or nervousness, immediately discuss it with your parents or whoever you feel comfortable with.
- Parents as well as the students have to understand that no competition is bigger than life itself. Balancing studies with planned recreation and relaxation proves more effective in better preparation.
Comparison leads to depression
- We all have different levels of abilities, hence neither students nor parents should compare with other competitors.
- Comparison usually adds pressure on the child and children often find it belittling and demeaning. Even the most well-intentioned comparisons could be disheartening for the child and could prove to be demotivating or even disastrous.
- Parents should make sure the child’s efforts are appreciated. They should find ways to motivate and encourage the child with gentle nudges and help them identify on what aspects the child could do better.
- Any realistic assessment of the child’s preparation should first include proper appreciation of the work done followed by precise suggestions on improvement.
Pressure not, treasure
- It is the job of the parents to keep children calm and confident about their preparation. For children to remain calm under pressure, parents will have to display extraordinary levels of composure even if you are going through turmoil internally.
- Children would already be going through immense pressure, so adding any amount of pressure could lead to distress. Instead, parents should should strategise to work as the soothing balm for the children.
Your time is their life
- While it is highly important for parents to give the children the right space – both mentally and physically – parents should make sure they spend quality time with children and see in what ways they could help the child prepare. Our propensity to help should in no way impede the child’s progress or annoy them.
- The idea is to make sure that the child realises that he/she is not alone in this endeavour and that their family is there to back them at every moment. This will free their mind and give them immense confident.
Reduce the distractions
- In our modern life, we are surrounded by distractions. In this digital atmosphere of ours, dozens of objects are competing for our attention. Amidst this chaos we have to stay focused and prioritise our goals. It is not easy, but it can be done, if we are serious about our future.
- We all have particular weaknesses and inclinations, it could either be texting, browsing, social media, music or videos. All this could wait until you achieve your immediate goal.
- It is highly important to stay away from the mobile phone and the Internet during the study time, if not for the entire period of preparation ahead of the exam.
- Lesser the distraction, higher the rate of success in life – the call is yours, choose life!