Isn’t it typical that just as the exam season gets into full swing, the sun emerges and temperatures heat up after what seems like months of wind and rain, tempting exam candidates of all ages away from their books? I do wonder sometimes why we take exams during the summer term instead of in the depth of winter when no-one minds being cooped up inside with their head in a book. Wouldn’t exams in the lead up to Easter make more sense?
Despite idealistic observations, there is no doubt about it-we are now mid-exam season and many homes will be touched by at least one of their offspring facing important future defining exams over the next few weeks. School exams, Common Entrance, GCSE’s, AS and A Levels, IB, Pre U all mean the approaching half term holiday will not, for many, be a holiday at all. How can parents keep the ship on an even keel and make sure that the time is used wisely to enhance performance in the coming weeks?
Coping with exam-stressed hormonal teenagers can be quite tricky. Use planning, environment, reassurance, motivation and fun as the main survival techniques.
Firstly plan the family timetable for half term carefully allocating time for revision, interspersed with time for brain-food, social media, rest and relaxation. Discuss this in advance, so expectations are agreed at the outset.
Make sure their workspace environment has fresh air, enough light, water and they have everything they need for revision to hand-books, files, post-it notes, highlighter pens. Try not to tidy or over organise. Remove social media temptations such as smart phones and keep these for outside study times. Remember we all learn in different ways. Some find it easier to take in information if walking around or listening to background music.
Inject a bit of motivation. Take a bit of time to discuss why the current exams are important as part of the bigger picture for the future. Particularly with boys, understanding the reason why they must work hard to achieve certain marks or grades goes a long way to motivating them to put in the effort. Set challenging but realistic goals and if you feel appropriate, dangle a few carrots.
Engage in conversation over meals to discreetly eke out how things are going. Talk through any issues in a calm and reassuring way. Boosting confidence is critical.
Have some fun. Working hard in concentrated periods is far easier if there are opportunities to get away from the revision environment for some occasional rest and recuperation. Good Luck.
If things don’t go to plan with approaching exams, give our team of education consultant experts a call. We can assist with planning exam re-takes or looking at alternative school or university options through Clearing.