Every year, midterm exams are scheduled during the last week before Christmas holiday! As a former SMU teacher and mum of second grader at Armstrong Elementary and a sixth grader at MIS-HPMS, I know stress levels are rising at home. Children run out of time to study and probably do not like the idea of cramming for their tests, especially during this festive month!
While panicking is rarely a good way to cope with stress, studying 12 hours non-stop before the test often fails to give good results in a skill-based exam like foreign language. Here are few tricks to boost their confidence for these exams.

Prioritize your studying
Every exam is unique. Unfortunately, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to studying for exams. You need to prioritize your efforts by knowing exactly what aspects of the syllabus/class materials will be tested in the exam itself.
As a former Italian teacher at SMU, I know the importance of keeping things simple. A common mistake by beginners is to try creating long compound sentences in a foreign language. Of course it all depends on how you are mastering the language. For example, being fluent in Italian might make you a pro at the spoken exam, but you’ll probably crash and burn in the written exam if your grammar is lacking. So instead of broadly reviewing, study several points that are essential to earning your intended score.

Get some help!
Progress is different for each individual. A full classroom of students who are about the same age rarely learn at the same speed and through the same methods. That’s why some children need more focused support, which could make the difference in the short term for their midterm exam and in the long term by boosting their confidence.
With over 20 years’ experience teaching Italian abroad and in SMU, I have decided to start my own language school, HP Lingua, to provide the support children and adults need to reach their goals, either in the comfort of their home or in a classroom setting.

For your short term goals, HP Lingua is offering HPMS/HPHS language sessions in French, Spanish, Chinese and Italian for 2 sessions of 1.5h each in December 2017. These 3 hour sessions with a native professional coach could help your children to get a better academic grade on their test.

For their long term goals, HP Lingua is offering weekly/bi-weekly one-hour session in Spanish, French, Chinese, Italian and Singapore Math to accompany your children through the rest of the school year. This approach will boost your child’s confidence in succeeding in their final exam, instill the confidence they need to progress to the next level and most of all encourage their development. Indeed, it has been scientifically proven that mastering a foreign language increases mental alertness, hones listening skills and necessitates sustained focus and attention. The process also nurtures a spirit of tenacity that will serve students well in academics, careers and beyond.
Contact me if you need more information:, email: or mobile: 765-414-4285

Sleep & rest your hands
Our childrens’ brains are at their best when they are rested. Most of the tests are designed to assess knowledge and skills that they accumulate over months of study. So if your children study the night before the test, it is unlikely to help them.
Most of the tests will be written by hand, which can be really tiring. Tired hands are one factor that can affect their performance. So on the day of your exam, bring a stress ball or other stress relief toy that will help your hands relax from their pencil-clutch posture.

In my next article, I will share with you few tips from Yale students to get ready for the final exam without stress!!


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