While there aren’t many things that you can do, you can create a calm, nurturing and supportive environment at home to help your child get through the stress of their exams and revise as they need. For parents we have some expert tips and advice below from a sixth form college in Hertfordshire on how to help children during exam periods.
Time is of the essence during exam season. Any revision that your child can do will help maximise their chances of doing well. To use the time that they have effectively, it is recommended that children create a study schedule and structure their revision. While in theory this sounds great, it still relies on their co-operation as they must be willing and able to put in the work. For this reason, it’s important to be realistic and only set aside time that they will actually spend revising. Breaks are just as crucial as they allow us to maintain concentration and stay energised, so make sure to schedule time for those too.
Despite all of this, they can still struggle with revision and it’s because they’re not using the right methods. Children all learn differently to one another, and what may work for their peers may not work for them. We all have what are known as “learning styles” and there are three categories that we commonly fall under. They are the kinaesthetic, visual, and auditory learning styles. According to which your child has, they will need to tailor how they revise.
To briefly explain each, learners with a kinaesthetic learning style prefer hands-on learning activities. They benefit from short breaks and interactive revision methods, such as revision games. On the other hand, there are visual learners who take in what they see. They learn best when they have diagrams, graphs and notes that visually represent what they’re learning. The last style is the auditory learning style. Children belonging to this category prefer having concepts explained, so they may benefit from repetition and videos.
Dealing with Exam Stress
The stress of exam season can take a toll on a child’s mental health. To help them during this difficult time and manage their nerves, it’s important to speak to them about how they’re finding things and be there to provide reassurance. Mindfulness can also help. It’s a way to reduce anxiety and feel calm when overwhelmed. It’s worth mentioning that it can take a while before children are able to see any benefit. They will need to practise the exercises regularly which will also help to keep their anxiety at bay.
Past papers can also help as they give children an idea of what they’re up against. They demonstrate how their exams are structured and teach them about how to tackle questions. This can help them to manage their time accordingly and attempt questions to the fullest of their ability. Fortunately, examiners often recycle questions so involving them in their revision can help set children up for success. Going back to the point made earlier, this may even help to reduce stress and their exam fear as they will become more confident at tackling exam questions as they will have an idea of what to expect.
Other materials available are examiners notes that highlight the common mistakes they see and what they’re really looking for in their answers. Knowing exactly what that is helps children to form their answers and achieve maximum marks on questions.
Make Use of Their Teachers
Aside from the independent study that children are expected to do, teachers can support children with their revision. They can steer pupils in the direction of helpful resources, provide feedback on how they can improve and help them with their understanding of topics so that they can get on with revising.
Setting High Expectations
This last piece of advice concerns expectations. While of course, every parent wants their child to do well, it’s important to be wary of adding any unnecessary pressure. Remind your child that even if they don’t pass, there are other options available. They may be able to retake their exams later down the line or find alternative ways to reach their goals.
Until next time.