Author, Lee Jackson, shares a few of his insights into how you can best support your child throughout their GCSE revision and during their exams.
A positive attitude from us as parents makes a real difference to our children’s success in school. I like to think of being ‘realistically positive’.
Things you can do:
• Find out where they are with their estimated grades (teachers/reports can tell you this).
• Help them to believe the positive truth about themselves (i.e. that they can do well, and certainly better than they probably believe).
• Encourage them to be positive towards their exams and their future.
• Encourage them to be positive towards learning and the school.
• Help your child understand the big reason for doing their studies. If they know the BIG reason it can very motivating and can help to create good habits. e.g. “You are doing exams to help you get to the career you want or the University or College course that you want to do.”
Rewards can work well to help them keep motivated. Some teens respond to small financial rewards, treats or clothes etc, but many don’t. Find out the ‘little trophies’ and the ‘big trophies’ that work for you, what you can use as a treat and reward for hard work not just great results. It’s more about rewarding effort – if your child is putting in the effort then reward them daily with comments and the occasional treat. Then maybe talk about a ‘big trophy’ (reward) at the end.
Quick fire tips (in no particular order):
• Encourage them not to use lined paper but use plain paper – it helps as they can use it to do mind-mapping and ‘spider graphs,’ etc.
• Find out what works best for them – what keeps them motivated and engaged? Try different strategies. You’ll find a combination that works.
• They can read their text books and notes and make them into audio files on their phones, then when you are travelling or away from a desk/home they can use them to remind them about facts and rewrite and use the info to revise.
• Encourage them to talk to their positive friends, the friends that’ll keep them going and on task.
• A good positive chat is so helpful.
• Revision, rest and recreation all go together.
• Fifteen minutes focused study followed by a five-minute break is better than 1 hour staring into space.
• Find the best timings to suit their brains. Use kitchen timers or countdown apps to time their study times.
• The best revision is the revision that was started weeks or months ago, the next best is the one that is started now.
• We all have 86,400 seconds a day, no matter who we are, it’s all about how we use that time in the run up to exams.
• "Working hard is important but there is something that matters even more: believing in yourself” Harry Potter – spoken in the film 'The Order of The Phoenix'.