When you’re confident that you know how to support your child during revision time, it can help you and your child feel more at ease about what lies ahead. You want them to work hard and do their best, but you don’t want them to become stressed out by the whole process, so we’ve put together some simple tips to make sure your child feels supported…
When it comes to revising for exams, preparation is key. Before your child starts revising, help them create a revision timetable; this will hopefully stop them from cramming the information closer to the exams. The timetable should provide achievable goals, dividing their time between each key subject. Making this visual plan should help your child see how they’re progressing and stop them from feeling so overwhelmed by the amount they have to learn. Make sure plenty of breaks are included in their timetable, it will help with concentration levels.
Using brightly coloured highlighters, coloured pens and note cards can be really helpful when students are trying to digest large amounts of information – so take a trip to the pound shop together and stock up! If past papers are available, build in practise as part of their revision timetable, so that the actual exam isn’t a shock when they enter it. A planned approach helps reduce their stress, and yours, so it’s well worth the extra effort.
Remember that we all retain information at different rates, and your child might find they’re better at remembering one subject over another, so their revision timetable should reflect their strengths and weaknesses. Encourage them to start revision sessions with something they find more difficult – that way they’ll get the hardest bits out of the way first.
Talk about all the different ways they could revise, and encourage them to shake things up and find ways that work best for them - providing the materials to create mind maps, flash cards, diagrams and flow charts will help. Find out about mnemonics and rhymes that they could use, as these are great techniques for remembering information and also make revision a little more fun!
If they’re up for it, get the whole family involved in helping with revision. Stick notes and posters around the house with facts on, and then you can quiz each other as a family during meal times or in the car. You could also test them with a Q&A session, getting them to speak on a particular topic for a set amount of time, say 2-3mins - they’ll probably surprise themselves by how much they know, and it will help highlight the areas they need to focus on.
Your child might feel overwhelmed or demotivated at times, trying to balance their school work, revision and social life. If your child is feeling like this, speak to them about the issues they are coming up against, and help them come up with solutions. Praising your child and reassuring them that however the exams go, it’s not the end of world, will help them to feel more confident.
To help your child remain focused, it’s so important that breaks are built into their timetable and you praise them for their hard work and effort. So if they are revising for 2 hours, let them choose a TV show they want to watch for an hour afterwards, or dish up their favourite dinner to keep their motivation and energy levels up. Remind them that their social life shouldn’t end just because they have exams coming up and encourage them to still go to their clubs and meet up with friends.
4. Practical support
There may be times when your child isn’t their usual happy self and doesn’t want to listen to your excellent advice. Try not to get cross if they’re stressed and take it out on you – exams will come to an end, and they will return to normal! Be a little lenient when it comes to chores so you can’t be accused of adding extra pressure - of course, exams aren’t an excuse for bad behaviour, so you’ll have to strike a balance.
Don’t worry if you feel you’re not able to help your child with their studies (you’re certainly not the only parent who feels that way), being there to listen and provide practical support is just as important - healthy meals and snacks, lots of water and plenty of rest means they can focus on getting the work done. Make sure there is a nice quiet place in the house (or at school) where they do their revision in a calm atmosphere. And finally… try not to interrupt them!
Related blogs and articles:
Blog: How can I help my child with exam stress?
Exams without tears
Surviving results day