Let's face it.
The job market is getting tougher every day.
Computerization is making many jobs redundant.
The Internet and modern telecommunications have allowed companies to outsource jobs to third-world countries where wage costs are much lower.
In fact thousands of jobs have already been shed in the United Kingdom as several major banks have outsourced their call center operations to the Indian subcontinent.
Other companies are following suit, sending their back- office and Information Technology jobs the same way.
This is a major trend that's only going to accelerate.
Have you ever wondered how your kids will get on when it's time to look for a job?
With the population increasing and with more people competing for fewer jobs, companies can now pick and choose from the very best applicants.
But wait a moment....
What do we mean by "the best"?
Whether you like it or not, "best" generally means the best qualified.
Employers, of course, have always used academic qualifications to shortlist job applicants for the interview stage.
But what is emerging now is a reliance on exam results for even seemingly ordinary jobs.
For example, did you know that the average call center employee in India is educated to degree level?
Qualifications are becoming more important than ever before.
And while not everyone is a natural-born exam prodigy, there are steps parents can take to help their kids gain better exam passes.
Here are 5 tips to get you started:
#1. Make learning enjoyable
We all do things better when we enjoy them, so bring out the joy of learning for its own sake.
One way to achieve this is by having family discussions about exam-related topics. Try to inject some drama (or at least some interest!) into the topic.
Another way is to embrace different technologies outside of the classroom. The Internet, multimedia CD-ROMs, and TV services like The Discovery Channel all help to liven up learning.
#2. Develop problem-solving skills
Practicing mental activities like quizzes and crossword puzzles helps nurture the intellectual problem-solving part of the brain.
It also develops other important skills like concentration and creativity.
So get your kids into the habit of solving problems every day.
Their exam skills will develop naturally, plus they'll be able to solve problems more easily in the real world outside of the exam hall.
#3. Encourage the study habit
Who hasn't tried to cram themselves full of information the night before an important exam?
Unfortunately, that's doing it the hard way.
"A little, often" works much better.
Ensure your kids set aside at least 20 minutes a day for peaceful study. Every day.
After a few sessions of enjoyable learning, you'll find they actually look forward to their study period.
#4. Learn exam technique
Studying for exams includes studying exams.
Get hold of some past examination papers - you can buy these cheaply in most bookstores - and have your kids study the questions.
Exams have a consistent formula, and once you know the formula, you're halfway to success.
Familiarity also instills confidence - an important quality when it comes to facing a real exam situation.
#5. Pay for performance
If all else fails, or your kids are having trouble getting motivated towards a forthcoming exam, try offering them an "incentive".
(Well they have to learn about "performance-related pay" someday.)
You'd be surprised how a little motivation can improve exam results!
Whichever way you do it, try to help your kids get the best grades they can.
"Qualifications doth not a person make."
But they certainly help when it's time to earn a living.
About The Author
Murdo Macleod is a software developer and co-author of the 'Fun With Figures' mental math course.
'Fun With Figures' shows anyone how to gain an unfair advantage in math. Visit the website today and find out what they didn't teach you in school.