Your guide to help children study effectively

Exam time is a stressful time for both parents and children. Studying and learning are two separate things- between them there is a huge gap which is usually not adequately filled. 

Each child (and adult) is different, so is their way of learning. Read below to find some very simple study problems with interesting hacks (solutions) you may not have thought of:

1. Exhaustion due to overstudying- It is how, not how much you study that makes a difference in learning. Children are encouraged to cram in as many study hours as possible without adequate breaks. This causes exhaustion, overload of information and increase in levels of stress. 

What to do: Instead of an intensive 10 hour marathon, aim for 6-8 hours with shorter, frequent breaks in between. This will avoid exhaustion and ensure that the information gets retained better. 

2. Lack of concentration- It can be difficult for anyone to maintain a long attention span. The ideal attention span lasts only upto 40-50 mins. Hence, one should design the study timetable around this.

What to do:  One way is to take a 10 minute break every 40 minutes. This helps rejuvenate the mind. Another interesting technique is the 'pomodoro' technique. A 'pomodoro' is a spanish tomato. On a sheet, draw some tomatoes. Set a timer for a 5 minute break every 25 minutes of studying. This ensures higher study efficiency versus the traditions hours-long study methods. Every 25 minutes, cross out one tomato on the paper. 

A 'pomodoro'
3. Losing interest/getting bored- Sometimes we lose interest and get bored while we are studying.

What to do: To avoid this, try eating a salty snack while studying. A healthy option like peanuts or cashews is preferred. In summers, this can be replaced with sliced cucumber and salt. You can also set a small 'prize' at the end of each study period to increase motivation.

4. Body pains while studying- Studying for hours together, hunched over the table usually causes body pains due to inactivity. 

What to do: Get up and stretch, walk around during breaks. Don't ignore the importance of incorporating a physical activity into your study schedule. This kick-starts and recharges your entire system, thus allowing your body (and brain) to do its job better!

5. Forgetting the study material- Ever faced with the situation when we are confident we know it all but when faced with the exam paper everything goes blank? Forgetting results when the brain has not adequately encoded the information or practiced retrieving it.

What to do: Practice, practice, practice! This means that you need to encourage your child to practice answering questions by digging out information from their mind. Practice question papers are a very useful tool here. A technique which can be used here is 'mnemonics'- where an interesting sentence is made using the first letter of every important point. Yet another technique is making and using 'flash cards'- where the keywords are practiced so that during the exam, the keyword serves as a trigger to retrieve the information which has been studied. 

With these tips studying becomes less of a chore and more of a fun activity. Not every technique works for everyone so you need to find which one suits you best. Finally, remember that exams and marks are not everything and a wholesome development of personality is more important than just being a 'topper'. Best of luck!