Exam season can be stressful and nerve-wracking for children and for their parents. You might find yourself struggling to help your child through their exams, or feel like you could be doing more to help. Here are some tips on how you can better support your child through their exams and help them with their revision.
- Give them a dedicated study space at home
A dedicated working or studying space is very important for a child’s ability to focus and get in the study zone. It doesn’t have to be a large space, and it can even be a temporary one – a desk or a corner of their bedroom or a station they can set-up and take down again and put away.
- Come up with a revision timetable
Coming up with a schedule for their revision will be really helpful in planning their time. Sit down with them and map out their school week and after-school activities and see where you can fit revision sessions around it. It’s important to be realistic and schedule regular breaks, and allow time for seeing their friends or their hobbies and extracurriculars. It’s much better to do manageable chunks of effective revision than hours and hours of ineffective revision. A good rule of thumb is for every 30-45 minutes of study, schedule 15 minutes of breaks.
- Try different revision techniques
There are lots of different techniques to try for revision, we’ve included some popular ones below. Talk to your child to see which they think will work for them, and try them out. Every student’s brain works and learns differently, so some of these may work better for them than others.
Mind maps and brain dumps
These are a really great tool to start off any revision session. Ask your child to write down everything they can think of related to that subject without looking at their textbook or class notes. It doesn’t have to be organised or tidy, and can be in bullet points, notes, or full sentences. Regardless of how much they end up being able to remember, the process of mind mapping or brain dumping will help them get in the right headspace to learn.
Repetition, repetition, repetitionRepetition can be a powerful revision tool, and it’s probably the most common one. If you have the time and it’s something your child would find helpful, give them the chance to recite, repeat and practise what they’ve learnt with you. Even if you don’t know the answers, the opportunity to say out loud what’s in their mind can help clarify whether they have grasped the concepts or whether they are still hazy on the details.
Other things to try:
• Flashcards or cue cards
• Rhymes, mnemonics, or stories
• Sticky notes
• Colour-coordinated notes, or colour associations with topics
- Do practice exams at home
It’s a good idea to check the exam specifications - all exam boards publish their specifications, along with practice papers and mark schemes too. There are many resources available for revision such as past papers, which are very good for practising for the real exam.
- Encourage them to have perspective
Remind your child that the better they prepare and the more confident they feel in their subject knowledge, the less stressed they will feel when the exams start.
- Help them identify their weaker subjects to start with
Sometimes it is easier for children to focus on their strong subjects because those are easier to manage, or they have more of an interest in them. Getting them to start on the subjects they feel less confident with not only gives them more time to get to grips with it but also enables them to get more help from their teachers on areas they struggle with.
- Try some role reversal of student and teacher
Another effective revision technique is to swap roles and encourage your child to talk through their subject knowledge. By asking your child to explain a topic or subject to you, it helps them refresh their understanding of the subject. Make sure you listen and ask them questions if you don’t understand what they are explaining. Some studies have shown that one of the best ways to revise is by teaching others.
- Eat well, drink plenty and stay active
Last but certainly not least, ensure your child eats well, drinks plenty of water, stays active and gets fresh air regularly. It will help give them the fuel they need to get through their exam period and succeed!