How to make 7 Plus and 8 Plus exam preparation fun

Rosie is a tutor with Owl Tutors


Owl Tutor

September 23rd, 2019

How to make 7 Plus and 8 Plus exam preparation fun

Children are naturally curious and inquisitive creatures who love to learn. However, the high expectations set by schools and the pressures created by exams can often lead children to see their learning as a chore. This post gives some tips and advice on how to foster a child’s natural enthusiasm for learning and keep exam preparation fun.

Why is it important to make learning fun?

Learning is 100 times harder if it’s seen as a chore. Just think back to the subjects that you excelled in at school: they were most likely the ones you enjoyed. Research shows that fun experiences increase dopamine, endorphins and oxygen in the brain – all things that promote memory and learning. If children are in a positive frame of mind, they are going to be more engaged and more willing to persist in difficult tasks.

How can parents and tutors make exam preparation fun?

1. Start preparing for the exams in plenty of time

By leaving things until the last minute, parents run the risk of having to cram in tutoring and exam preparation for their children, a stressful and ineffective way to learn. Leaving plenty of time before exams means you can keep learning sessions short and incorporate plenty of fun activities.

2. Break down tasks into small, achievable steps

Feeling that you have mastered a task is the most enjoyable part of learning. Often children complain that a task is boring when they are embarrassed or frustrated that they cannot complete it. Break tasks up in to small steps that children will be able to complete. For instance, if a child is writing a piece of creative writing, encourage them to write a small section at a time. At each stage, praise the child and highlight what they have done well; making a child proud of what they have done will make them strive for the same feeling again.

3. Use what interests your child

If children are learning about something that piques their interest, they are going to be more excited about their learning. For parents struggling to engage their children in reading, books related to their personal interests may be a great starting point. For example, they may be interested in:

Whatever your child’s interest, a quick Google search should identify some relevant reading.

4. Use technology

Never underestimate the power of technology to engage children. There are hundreds of apps designed to support children’s learning. Although these cannot replace face-to-face teaching, they are a useful tool for making learning fun and can often be used as a reward at the end of a session.

5. Use games and fun activities

There are many ways to incorporate games and fun in to learning. Here are a few ideas:

  • When learning times tables, throw a ball back and forth; the child must shout the next number in the times table sequence before they can throw the ball.
  • Use the game ‘Hit the Button’ – This is a popular online game which helps children to learn times tables and maths facts.
  • Adapt a game that a child already enjoys. For instance, players could have to answer a Maths question before moving their piece forward in a board game. Alternatively, the player to complete or answer a question first could take the next go in the chosen game.
  • Incorporate real-life experiences. If you want your child to write a story based in a setting, take them there first and note what they can see, hear, smell, feel. If your child is writing in role as someone, do some drama together first; dress up and act out the character.
  • Think about how you could bring maths in to real-life settings. For instance, you could practise fractions, addition, multiplication and time simply by baking a cake. Turning numbers in to amounts of money can often help to make maths seem relevant; take your child on the weekly shop and ask them to be your accountant.
  • Switch roles. Pretend you do not understand a mathematical concept and ask your child to explain it to you. Children love to act out adult roles and will learn a lot from teaching someone else.

Those are just a few tips which I help make exam preparation enjoyable for both you and your child. Good luck!

Rosie is a tutor with Owl Tutors

More about Rosie

Rosie qualified as a teacher in Primary education in 2016, and now works as a tutor with Owl Tutors.