Exam Preparation - Advice for Parents
Exams, particularly important public exams, are stressful for students and probably even more for their parents.
It is not easy to watch your children suffer and not to know what you can do to help.
The students who do best in exams:
- have revised thoroughly and carefully
- feel confident
- have parents who take an interest in their revision.
So what can you do?
There is a great deal you can do. You can't revise for them and however much you'd like to, you can't take the exams for them, but you can be invaluable in making the exam process smooth, calm and successful.
- Offer help as a tester; as a reader; as a source of knowledge; as a buyer (of equipment, books, rewards)
- Make them feel you are on their side
- Organise non study activities for them
- Encourage them with praise and rewards
- Work out time limits with them
- Make their environment revision friendly
- Force them to revise in ways you think best
- Get involved in their stress; don`t shout back
- Make comparisons with other students, or yourself at a younger age
- Give them permission to do badly
- Believe the revision lies
Suggested Revision Material
Year 11 Revision: Resources for parents and students
The following downloadable documents were shown at the Parents' Evening and are designed to help your child's revision.
Support your Teenager With Literacy
Department revision booklets
Exams are stressful. So is revision. There is a constant fear of being found out, of not being good enough, of opening an exam paper and finding you can't answer any of the questions. The fear of having to face your parents, your grandparents and your friends with the word 'moron' stencilled on your forehead.
Some things parents can do to reduce stress:
- Encourage them. Point out what they're good at. Tell them daily what they do well. Make mention of past success, current success with revision, success in previous exams.
- If you look at their work, do not point out their errors, point out what they've done well.
- Get them to invite their friends round. Shared revision makes it easier, makes it more fun.
- Every now and then do something together you've never done before: go to a theme park, try sailing...
- Don't join in the general anxiety; be a picture of serene confidence
Environment and diet
A healthy diet, important always, becomes vital at times of pressure. Fresh vegetables, fruit and water are the most important. It is best to reduce sugar and fat. Fish is supposed to be good for the brain.
Students need a place to revise which is quiet, calm and comfortable. Probably the most important is quiet.
Helping with Homework
Children whose parents take an interest in their homework do better in examinations.
But what can you do? How can you actually help? We hope that these notes might offer some suggestions.
Some things you can do
- Talk to them about their homework; about what they're doing, what they find interesting in it, how long it takes them. They don't always want to talk about it, especially as they get older, but it is the way of discovering what they are doing at school.
- Sign their homework diary. We would ask that you sign it weekly. Again, it is a good way of finding out what they are doing.
- Find ways of making homework more enjoyable. It is possible for instance to use the Internet for additional resource material. You can come across games that can make both homework and revision much more fun than just reading from a textbook.
- Set times and the place where homework should be done. Once students have established the habit of homework they find it much easier to settle.
- Do make the homework environment quiet and comfortable. Make sure there are no distractions like TV sets / games consoles etc. on in the background.
- Do encourage and praise your child when they are doing their homework. Point out what they have done well, build on their successes. Success and the feeling of success is the great motivator.
- Approaching exam time especially, everyone is apprehensive and nervous about doing as well as they can and worried about making fools of themselves. As a parent, you can encourage your child to learn new things and develop their skills.
- Do help them with homework but don't do it for them. Help them find answers but don't simply tell them. You might think you are helping them but you are actually putting them at a disadvantage. They will become dependent on you to a large extent. It also doesn't help teachers gauge what areas the child needs to develop.
- Don't criticise your child if they make mistakes with their homework – everyone makes mistakes and trial and error is often the best way to learn.
- Don't underestimate the importance of homework. If you've had a long day at work, the last thing you want to do is to work some more - but please remember that children are asked to do homework for a reason.