5 Tips to Help Your Child

It’s only natural for parents to want success for their children. This is especially true with their exams as it is one of the key factors that can ensure a child’s academic success and help them achieve their goals for a bright future. When a child receives low marks on their exams, they aren’t the only ones disheartened, their parents also feel the same. However, because of the pressure to shine academically in Singapore, there are also many parents who react negatively to their child’s results, causing them more anxiety and can even traumatize some children.

This isn’t the way to go if we want our children to improve and do better the next time. In times like this, parents should realize that the child is also having negative thoughts about their marks and it wouldn’t help the child or the parent if they will also only throw negativity towards them. Children may feel worse when their parents react negatively and it will only add to their feelings of disappointment, embarrassment, and they may even start to doubt their self-worth.

Why students fail their exams

Even with affirmative responses to having been able to study for their exams, there are still instances wherein the child can flunk their exams. Many intelligent and generally studious students have suffered from exam blues (or red marks for this matter) even with all the measures they took up to prepare for their exams. So, this brings us to the question, if they are prepared for the exams, why did they fail? There are several factors that can contribute to this such as:

• Exam anxiety

Everyone has been there. Performance anxiety can affect anyone from students to even adults. This can be characterized by symptoms such as nausea, migraines, accelerated heartbeat and can even be described as “butterflies in the stomach”. Exam anxiety can cause the student to lose their focus on the exam resulting in them not doing well at all and some even can’t finish their exams altogether.

• Exam strategies

While some exams still rely on what the student should know, there are still some parts of the exam that tackles the critical thinking skills of students. Some exam strategies can be the cause why students receive low marks. In answering exams, students shouldn’t only focus on memorization alone and should be able to incorporate other techniques, especially with time management as it’s common for students to fail because they haven’t finished their exams.

• Low self-confidence

Another aspect that can trigger anxiety and result in lower marks for students is the matter of their self-confidence. A teacher had once told us the first step in taking an exam is to calm yourself and the next is to understand that you know more than what you let on. Some students can be terrorized by their fear of failing their exams or not having enough confidence in their knowledge and skills and doubt themselves. When they start to do this, understanding questions become harder and harder. And so, even before the test wraps up, they will already think they are a failure without utilizing the skills they have developed.

• Too much self-confidence

At the far end of the spectrum, there are also students who have way too much confidence in their skills that it borderlines to arrogance. Because of this, they will think that they already will get the best scores in their exams and will not take the measures to ensure they can actually achieve them.

• Improper learning materials

Sometimes, it isn’t just internal factors that play a part in a student’s failure. Some student can fail their exams because they used the wrong study materials or used the wrong techniques to study. This can range from using flashcards to memorize when the child is an auditory learner or even when a child studies notes that are unorganized or illegible. It may seem like a joke but there are many students who miss the correct answer because they misinterpret what is written in their notes.

What to do when the child fails

It’s distressing to see the child coping with the stress of failing their exams and missing one of the crucial steps to reaching their academic success. However, there are many things they can learn from failure and as such, parents should be there to help get them back on track to the path of their success.

1. Don’t blame the child

The first thing parents should do is to refrain from pointing fingers and blaming the child for failing their exams. It’s understandable that parents may be enraged with the results of the exams. This can prompt them into pointing out the habits of their child that they think contributed to this such as not waking up as early as they wanted, playing after school, or even spending time watching TV.

Children don’t go to exams with the intention to fail for the fun of it. it’s important to understand that students don’t fail on purpose. As such, instead of blaming the child, parents should be the first to initiate moving forward from this and give positive support to their children. It may be easier said than done but there is practically nothing parents can do once the results are given. The child has already failed, there is no use in bombarding them with hurtful words and blaming them for what they could’ve done. Doing this to the child can also elevate their stress level and can cause them to develop anxiety. There’s no point in making the child feel guilty for what has already happened, instead, parents can help them get back to their feet.

2. Don’t compare them to other students

It’s also common for parents to react to a child’s failure by comparing them to other students or even the child’s siblings who have gotten better scores or are high achievers. Why is this not good for the child? The child’s self-confidence is already battered from failing their exams but when parents compare them to others, they would feel even lower. Aside from feeling low for failing the exams, the child may even feel that their parents are embarrassed by them and think they are a disappointment for their parents, as they aren’t living up to their expectations.

Every child is different from one another and they have different strengths and weaknesses. Comparing a child with another will only upset the child even more and can even make their already low self-confidence even lower. This can also lead to serious mental health issues.

3. Communicate with the child

Talking with the child can do wonders especially after they have gone through failures. This helps the parents just as much as it can with students. By having an open-minded conversation, it can give the parents some idea of the struggles their children are facing. Speculating that the child is not trying hard enough for the exam will cause more trouble rather than helping the child. There can be other factors that contribute to children not doing well in the exams and in some way, through communication, the parents can be made aware of these.

Parents can ask the child what they feel or why they think they failed the exam. Parents should listen to what their children have got to say and not immediately assume this or that. this can even lead to the student opening up about other matters such as learning difficulties or bullying. Ask the child in what way can the parents help them with improving the situation. Children need their parents’ support more during times like this and a parent-child relationship is just as important to help students achieve their academic goals.

4. Help develop better study habits

As mentioned before, there can be instances wherein the child fails their exam because of using the wrong studying means. Studying too little can be the reason why they aren’t fully prepared for the exam. However, studying too much can equally be a reason for the lower marks as well. When students are studying too much for an exam, they can be susceptible to burnout and can lead to them losing their focus on the day of the actual exam. They can be too tired to even concentrate even when they have already studied their lessons.

Just as adults are pushing for a better work-life balance, children should also be able to have a balanced study life. While it’s important for them to follow through with their lessons even at home, they also need time to rest and relax. Let them spend time playing or participating in sports. After sitting in their classrooms, they are bound to get fidgety with all their pent-up energy. Helping them have the means to release them can also help the students balance their lives outside of the academe.

Parents can also introduce schedules to the child so they would have an opportunity to allot different activities throughout the day and would have time to do what they are interested in without sacrificing their time for studying.

5. Hire a tutor

In Singapore, there’s no shortage of help with relations to academics. If the parent doesn’t have the time to actively look into the child’s study habits, they can hire professional help from home tuition. Home tuition offers students personalized lessons that will help them deal with their weak areas. As such, Family tutor’s home tutors can also give examination-taking techniques to their students to make sure that students can maximize their answers and the best way to approach them.



Carelle is a teacher who has been through the ups and downs of the teacher and learner life. She wishes for every learner to gain educational satisfaction that will help embody the people they want to be in the future.

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