Exam tips: How parents can help 22/05/2017

The grades/qualifications your child achieves will determine what he/she does next in life. You will want your child to achieve the best that they can. There are a number of things that you, as a parent, can do to help your son/daughter to be as prepared as possible.

It's not about experience, qualifications or money; you are the best person to coach your child (whether you like it or not!). Parental support is eight times more important in determining a child's academic success than social class according to a study by The Campaign for Learning. One of the biggest barriers to learning is feeling that you can't do something. The study also found that parental involvement in a young person's education can mean the difference between an A* and an 'also-ran' at GCSE.

The good news is that you don't need to be an expert in any of the subjects your child chooses to make a difference. You also don't need to give up your other responsibilities - you just need to know how best to spend the time you do have to support him/her.

So how can you help?

The most important role you will play is that of the person who will support your son/daughter through the exams and remain proud of them whatever happens. Your role may also include some or all of the following:

  • Make sure your child attends school/college on time every day and remind them of the importance of focusing and making the most of every lesson. There is a link between attendance, punctuality and results.

  • Help your child to make a study/revision timetable which includes the dates and times of examinations and any controlled assessments. This can be used to plan revision sessions which should be spread out evenly to break them up into manageable bite sized chunks to prevent your child from feeling too stressed.

  • Display the timetable in a prominent place and help your child to stick to it. However, be flexible -- use the 80/20 rule. If your child is sticking to what they are supposed to be doing 80% of the time, they will be doing alright.

  • Provide a quiet and well lit space for study and provide pens, paper and other necessities.

  • Show an interest in the subjects, helping with homework (but not doing it for them), and testing them to check if they remember what they've studied. Celebrate achievements and remain positive when things go wrong!

  • Be prepared to act as a go-between for your child and the school/college as necessary to help ensure problems are addressed quickly.

  • Help your child to find copies of old exam papers, search websites, find out about exam structures and content.

  • Ask to see your child's revision notes and encourage him/her to attend any revision sessions offered by the school/college.

  • You can buy revision guides to help them study. Make sure your child knows which exam board and syllabus have been followed for each subject.

  • Recognise the importance of exams and the preparation time needed to do as well and possible and reward your child's efforts to revise.

  • Reduce the number of chores that they have to do when exams start.

  • Make sure the whole family respects the importance of keeping disturbances to a minimum.

  • Be sensitive to the pressure and stress that your teenager may be experiencing and give them an opportunity to talk to you about it.

  • Remind your child that they should not be influenced by friends who talk about how little work they are doing -- your child's results don't matter to their friends but are crucial for your child's future.

  • Make time for exercise and recreation.

  • Help them to keep things in perspective.

  • Respect their growing independence; ask them how you can best support them.

Active Learning

You remember...

20% of what you READ only

30% of what you HEAR only

40% of what you SEE only

50% of what you SAY only

60% of what you DO only

90% of what you learn with many sensory learning activities READ, HEAR, SEE, SAY and DO

Young people differ in their levels of maturity, their ability to take responsibility for their learning, organisational skills and levels of motivation. This is where parents come in. Your support, encouragement and interest can make a spectacular difference to your child's motivation and ability to cope with the academic and organisational demands of the exam period.