Firstly, big shout out to a lovely friend, who suggested this topic: Thanks sweetie!
OK let’s deal with this exam time thing.
10 years of teaching and tutoring (and even longer as a mum) have taught me a few basic survival strategies for exam time (for parents as well as kids)… so here’s my top 5 tips:
- Try your hardest, without over-stressing: Teens need to revise (sorry guys n gals but if you don’t try, you don’t get) and may even need parents to guide this, but doing it at midnight the night before will not help either of you be peaceful about it.
- No more than 50 minutes at a time and only for the next few exams! If you have more than one exam to prep for 20-30 mins break in between sessions
- Eat, drink and sleep at regular times to keep your body calm
- Create calm: Walk away from stress and come back later (parents included), pray together, put relaxing music on, watch something funny in your break
2. Plan your time: Know what’s coming each day and if it’s not essential, don’t do it! (I recommend this applies to parents too; you don’t need to be on top of them but they might appreciate you postponing a night out to be there for them with refreshments.) Teens (or adult learners for that matter) you can afford to miss a party or badminton club for one week to get the career you want. Parents, if you can slack on some chores/clubs/TV rules, then do it…they don’t need extra stress.
3. Get some perspective: There aren’t any exams that can’t be taken again. Clear focus on what they want to do, (or if they don’t know what career they want, at least a reason why they have to do what they’ve got to do) will give them enough focus to try hard. However, the stress of potential failure can be too much for some people (big or small) and those especially need to know this “It’s only important until Christmas” By this I mean that between the exam season and Christmas everyone will have moved on to their next class, group, level, test or job. Even if they didn’t make the grade they wanted, there will be options to re-sit or change direction before Christmas…so don’t panic!
4. Know what works: By now your student will know what works for them and what they need to revise. They may find flashcards or colour-coded questions help, they may like to read loads of information or do past papers to practice, they may want to play revision games online, or perhaps listen to audio information (you can literally google these things and get hundreds of resources)… what they like may not be your ideal, but it’s them taking the test, so be accommodating. Also, as obvious as it may seem, it’s pointless revising things they’re secure in (like shapes) when they need to focus on something else (like graphs).
5. Be aware of time: Practice timed questions or tasks. Pupils need to know the importance of working out how long they have to read and check questions. They also need to be ready well in advance (uniform, food etc can not be dealt with at 8am on exam day!) and if a teacher says to be there early or there’s a revision class on, then help them get there.
Whatever happens, remain calm and balance your time.
Good luck and God Bless x