Thursday, 3 May 2012

How To Help Teenagers With Revision and Exams

Revision, Exams and Staying Sane!

My daughter Ella is in revision mode for her GCSEs.  This involves lots of printed off A4 sheets, highlighter pens, folders and note making.  Across the country thousands of teenagers like her are embarking on their own preparations for the exams which are the culmination of their secondary school life.  Each will have their own approach to revision, and we as parents will need to keep calm and help them through this tricky time.

How as parents can we help our teens to prepare for these exams?

  • Time management is key and it is important that our children dedicate time to each subject accordingly, thinking about their areas of strength and weakness.  Helping them to make a revision plan is a good way of overseeing just how much work they need to do and an opportunity to connect and communicate about the task ahead.  It allows them to share the load with you.  
  • Sticking an exam timetable on the fridge makes sure you are all fully aware of what's coming crossing out the exams that have been done helps mark off the days until freedom! Very therapeutic and rewarding!
  • Make sure that your child has a quiet place to revise and keep younger siblings away. Toddlers will love to have a go with a highlighter all over pages of diligently made exam notes, but it is not helpful! Unwanted distractions should be kept to a minimum.
  • Ella regularly keeps a tab on her laptop connected to Facebook.  It allows her to keep in touch with her friends who are all in the same situation, and stops her feeling isolated in a sea of equations, quotes and facts.  As long is it doesn't become a major procrastination device and your teen can resist the urge to go off on a technological tangent, I think it can help minimize stress.  I personally won't be nagging her to carry out a social media blackout at this time...I know how much support it gives me!
  • Make sure to supply an endless assortment of highlighters, post-it notes, notebooks and printer ink.   Constant supplies of drinks and healthy snacks will also be well received.  Bananas are great performance boosters!
  • Don't let your teen work too hard.  Staying up all night cramming, energized by caffiene laden energy drinks does not help prepare for exams.  Regular breaks to watch a favourite TV show or just to take a breath of fresh air reward them for their efforts.
  • Help out with a bit of testing!  Get involved and make it fun.  Quiz them on the periodic table or German vocabulary or reasons for population growth in the UK.  Facts are more likely to stick if they remember mum's feeble attempts at pronouncing conjugated German verbs over the dinner table. You never know, you could learn something that might stand you in good stead should you ever find yourself in a pub quiz!! 
  • Keep calm and remember that it will all be over soon!

teenager, exams, sixteen year old, daughter
Good Luck Ella

Ella, like many teenagers, really doesn't like the actual examination process.  The soulless rows of desks and chairs, the silence and the humourless  invigilators do not make the best environment for her to perform with confidence, but with good preparation, good rest and lots of encouragement, I'm sure she will be OK.  I'll definitely not be putting her under any exam pressure, because being instrumental in an exam induced panic attack is not conducive to seeing your child achieve an A*.  I am also at this time reminded of great geniuses who did not achieve well within the confines of the education system: Richard Branson,  Lord Sugar, Einstein, Churchill and Walt Disney spring to mind!  As long as they achieve good enough results to go into the next phase of their desired future, then they have done a good job!!

Good luck to all GCSE students and their's hoping it is all as stress free as possible, and if times do get rough, just remind your teenager that Prom is just around the corner to reward them for all their efforts!!


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