Years and years ago when I was preparing for the final English language exam at the senior high school I took a quite different approach on learning. I had quite good English skills at that time, so it wasn’t that radical (but I wouldn’t recommend this to you unless you know English well). Instead of reading English text books or practising grammar I decide to play Sims game. I played several hours that day and got new stuff to my virtual house, got a virtual wife, virtual baby, virtual money and everything else you can see in Sims game. I didn’t like to play several characters in Sims so in the end the virtual wife went away and baby was “taken by authorities”. After that I continued playing with my virtual Sim, decorating the house and doing the stuff you can do in that game.
The next day was the exam day. I hadn’t read English books, but I had played quite a virtual life in the previous day. In the exam I had to answer to several questions and in the end there were topics you needed to use in one page (or something like that) long essay. I really must say that when I saw the exam papers I might have almost laughed. There were several topics, and one of them was: “Get married or stay single – problems and benefits” (can’t remember the exact topic, but you get the idea). Well, just the previous day I “had gone” though a “virtual life being single, married with a baby”. I wrote what happened in the game. I remember writing something about “when you have baby it takes time” (heck yeah, it was crying all the time in the game ;) and “you need to take care of it or it might be taken away”.
I had never got 90 out of 100 points from English essays. I think I had written solid 80 points (maybe 80-85 out of 100) in the past in English essays, but this time it was different. I wrote the best (well, at least highest points I’ve ever got) English paper in my life and got over 90 points out of 100 from that essay. So, thanks Sims game and game makers – playing your game helped me to write my best English essay ever.
And as I already mentioned – I don’t recommend you to just play games and ignore learning in other ways when you are preparing for exams. I had studied English as foreign language for over a decade and had passion for it: I read lots of books, played lots of games where English was spoken, and studied English with care in other ways for a long time.
Nevertheless, parents should understand that video games are not completely waste of time. There’s much one can learn from them.