Please find below some tips and hints on how to help your child prepare for their forthcoming exams.
How can I make revision effective?
- Your child has received a personalised timetable with all the dates and times of the exams. You can work out with your child what needs to be done and by when, and draw up a up a timetable.
- Don't let them leave the difficult subjects until the last minute.
- Advise them to target specific topics, cover them, and then move on.
- Help your child work out when they are at their brightest and most alert morning or evening.
- Most people have energy low after lunch, so suggest that they go for or relax away from books.
- Forty minutes is about as long as a child can concentrate in one stretch. Then a break for a drink or snack is advisable. Be warned that if the break involves television, it can be hard to get started again. Advise them to tackle a different subject on their return.
- Remind the hard workers that as well as their revision, they must structure in some free time.
- Some students work well revising with friends – if this works for them let them do it, but manage the time sensibly.
How can you help?
- Make sure your child has a quiet space in which to revise. If there isn't one at home, come into school library or use the local library.
- Successful revision requires variety to ensure the information sticks. Encourage your child not to rely on their own notes but to use crib books or websites, too a list is attached at the bottom and are available from subject teachers.
- Some students learn best through being able to picture the information on the page: hence the growing popularity of coloured mind maps.
- Students who find it easy to learn by listening can benefit from taping their notes and then playing them back.
- Don't forget to revise exam technique, too, using past papers. There are plenty of these on the web too. Set a time and keep to it. Every question should be attempted and the answer planned out before starting to write. Encourage your child to keep notes which can be handed in as a crib sheet.
- Teachers are always happy to mark practice questions and give constructive feedback.
A RELAXED APPROACH
- Don't interrupt revision if it is going well, even for a family outing.
- Never say that you worked much harder than they are working.
- Keep the television off.
- Recognise that children who are worried about exams will tend to be grumpy.
- Reassure them that you value their efforts more than perfect results.
- On the morning of an exam, avoid wishing them "good luck". Talk of luck can raise anxiety levels. School exams are not a lottery, they are an appraisal of information already (hopefully) learnt. Instead, say: "I hope everything goes well."
- Take a look at the revision timetable with your child. Even the most ambitious student will need to have some breaks and they won't be a disaster.
- Organise things that they will want to do: sports, hobbies, cinema, shopping trips.
- If you're planning a half-term holiday, allow time for revision or give your child the option of staying at home to work (supervised by family or friends).
- Remind the over-eager that staring at notes doesn't mean anything is going in.
- Explain to your child that their brain needs time to process what they've learnt.
- Make sure your child is eating well – many find stress reduces their appetite-remember protein in important for the brain.
- Sleep is vital. Hot baths help relaxation.
- Don’t ban last-minute cramming if it makes children feel more secure.
- Encourage your child to get all the things they need for the exam ready the night before – ensure they have the correct equipment-– such as calculators where appropriate.
- If they have two exams in a day – make sure they have enough to eat and drink.