Exam time is almost upon us. And we say ‘us’, because as parents, we live through it with our children.
If you’ve got secondary school age children we know how stressful the atmosphere will be in your household right now. And although nothing can stop these stress levels from rising, there are steps you can take to help your children prepare in the run-up to the exams which could shape their lives.
The first thing you need to do is understand that there’s a difference between learning and practising. You can’t change their learning and what they’ve been taught by a teacher or tutor, but what you can change is how they prep for a big exam going forward.
So what can you do to support your child as we edge ever-closer to exam season?
Make the most of technology
Apps are great for providing revision support for kids. Allowing those struggling with structure and timings, these apps allow users to create notes and set out a revision plan. There’s also a handful that use games, mind maps, quizzes, flashcards and slides to play on each individual’s preferred way of revising. There are a list of online revision resources here.
Invest in extra tutoring
Tutoring will encourage the brain to store more information than simply going over a topic once or twice.
Once upon a time getting paying for an external tutor was the only way to go if you wanted to help your child learn, but thanks to technology, video tutorials have become the go-to for those wanting extra support.
Celebrated by many experts, video has been hailed as the best way to retain information, video has been shown to change the way students learn, boost attendance, increase the chances for success, and influence learning outcomes and the overall student experience. You can find out more about this here.
And don’t forget SchoolExams.co.uk offers a complete virtual tutor service with online videos and tutorials to walk your child through papers.
Don’t underestimate the power of practising
By now, your child should have been taught everything they need for going into an exam. But unfortunately that doesn’t mean it’ll stick.
The age-old adage of practice making perfect really does come into its own at exam time. And practice papers are key to this.
Using practice papers to underline revision is the best way to ensure your child’s knowledge will stay with them until exam time (and beyond). On top of this, practice papers also provide students with an idea of what they’ll face when the time comes and how to structure answers.
Encourage the Pomodoro Technique
Proven to help students (and workers) make the most of their time, the Pomodoro Technique was invented by an Italian who used an egg timer shaped as a tomato to manage time.
Although this may seem simple, the technique does get some getting used to. The six tasks in the technique are:
- Decide on the task to be done.
- Set the Pomodoro timer (traditionally to 25 minutes).
- Work on the task until the end of the period.
- Once the timer has gone off, put a mark on a piece of paper.
- If you have less than four marks, take a short break (no more than 5 minutes) and go back to step 2.
- After four Pomodoros, take a longer break (between 15 and 30 minutes), reset your mark count to zero, and repeat.
There’s plenty of benefits of the Pomodoro Technique:
- Preventing the brain from stagnating and ensuring it has plenty of time to relax.
- Helping to maintain focus and keep the mind fresh.
Talk to your child
You may think your child is coping well with the stresses of exams, but you’ll never know for certain unless you give them the opportunity to tell you otherwise.
Make sure you put aside an hour or so to speak to them about their concerns and worries. After all, they may be dying to talk to you, but feel too ashamed to bring up their concerns.
If you find they are struggling, make sure you act on it and reassure them that you’re there – whatever happens.