21 Revision Tips for Parents
Many parents worry about if, how and indeed when they should get their child revising for their upcoming exams. There is a lot of conflicting advice out there and whilst some parents take the approach that their children are too young to be revising; there are those at the other end of the spectrum who believe in creating strict timetables and really putting the pressure on. In this blog we will look at which approach tends to work best for children; and provide you with a list of twenty-one helpful tips in order to steer you in the right direction and help your child to get the most out of their revision.
1. You may believe that the onus is really on your child’s school to prepare them for their upcoming exam. While this is the case to some extent, it has been shown that a parents’ support and encouragement for their child to do even a small amount of practice in core subjects outside of school can really improve their performance.
2. The key words from the last point are support and encouragement. One of the biggest mistakes parents make when aiming to prepare their child for their exam is to try and guilt them into working harder. Telling them that they are not good enough, or are not working hard enough, often has the opposite effect to that which is desired.
3. With this in mind, do not overload your child with stacks of work and make them feel overwhelmed. This will only serve to discourage them. As with many things, it is best to aim to break up their revision sessions into small, manageable chunks. This will ensure that their concentration levels remain high and they are able to take in the information that is being covered.
4. Following on from the last point, make sure you schedule in plenty of rest breaks for your child. Allow them to go outside or participate in an activity that they enjoy doing. This boosts their energy and prepares them for the next time they sit down to study.
5. Reward their progress and achievements. This doesn’t have to mean anything extravagant, but when they have done well, or mastered a certain type of question that they had been struggling with, a small reward will make it all feel worthwhile.
6. Have key notes or definitions placed around your home of your child’s bedroom so that they are there to glance at every now and then. This will refresh the memory almost subliminally and help small portions of information to sink in. Visual aids are a great way to stimulate a child’s brain.
7. Whilst it makes sense to try and assist your child in understanding a particular type of question or topic that they are having difficulty with, encourage them to seek help with it at school as well. Their teachers are well-equipped and have the most experience in what the exam boards will be looking for.
8. Encourage your child not to feel embarrassed about speaking up regarding topics they don’t understand, so that they can talk through them. Even the practice of merely doing this sometimes helps them to understand the problem more clearly. This will then aid you or their teacher to tackle it better. Let you child know that no-one will be able to do everything perfectly right from the start.
9. Plan to focus on a specific topic in each ‘session’. This will ensure that it is not too overwhelming and your child’s focus is set. Begin with a topic that they find the most challenging and interchange this with a topic that they are confident on – this will keep their confidence at a stable level.
10. Encourage note taking and bullet-point making. If your child is simply reading through questions and working them out in their head, or speaking aloud the answers, it is less likely that the information will be retained than if it is written down.
11. Get hold of some past practice papers. This is the best way to prepare your child for the exact types of questions that they will face on the day. If they have been able to answer these types of questions at home, it will make them feel a lot less daunted on the day of the real exam as they will have established a familiarity. You can often download past papers online and you can usually buy extra if you feel that this is necessary.
12. Make sure your child has an environment to study in which is as distraction free as possible. Somewhere not too noisy or cluttered will be the most productive kind of environment for them to work and will mean that they will get more done as they avoid potential interruptions.
13. Similarly, when your child has set aside some time to revise, make sure that the television is off, there are no phones available, and the focus is purely on the subject for that period of time. This means that once it is time for a break, these things will serve as a kind of reward for them in their free time.
14. Once your child has become confident with a certain type of question, try encouraging them to practice under timed conditions. They do not necessarily have to do a whole past paper in one sitting, but even just a section whilst being timed will help to give them an idea of what it will feel like on the day of the exam.
15. Gradually build up to longer sessions. If your child is having trouble concentrating, start with short twenty minute sessions and aim to build them up over the course of their exam preparation in small steps. This makes a lot more sense than sitting your child down for an hour or two and expecting them to stay concentrated from the outset.
16. It may sound obvious, but make sure your child is getting enough sleep. If you haven’t already, try and establish a solid routine. Children will generally work best on around 8 to 9 hours of sleep a night. This will mean that they are able to concentrate and retain more information than if they are not getting enough sleep.
17. It is especially important to try and ensure that your child gets adequate sleep the night before the exam. Try not to make them feel too stressed or pressured in the evening, and reassure them that you are confident in their abilities. This will alleviate some of the worrying that can occur in the days leading up to the exam.
18. Let your child know that you are proud of them – whatever the outcome. They do not need the added pressure of worrying about potential failure. The best thing you can do is to encourage them, not to end up discouraging them.
19. Getting the right nutrition is also essential for everything from concentration to sleep to mood. Ensure your child is eating healthily and has a well-balanced diet. Consuming too much sugar or high-fat foods will make your child’s energy levels peak and then crash and thus negatively affect their performance.
20. Similarly, make sure your child is getting plenty of fresh air and exercise. They should be spending a small amount of time outside each day. They may already be getting exercise from sports and activities practiced at school, however if there is something that they are particularly enjoying, encourage them to practice it in their spare time. This will also keep their concentration levels high and help them to get a refreshing sleep every night.
21. Try not to leave revision to the last minute. This will only make your child feel unnecessarily stressed and anxious. If you start introducing small, manageable bites of revision a good amount of time before the exam, it will make for a much more productive outcome in the long run.
We hope you have found these 21 Revision Tips for Parents’ blog useful – we recommend positively encouraging your child, helping them to revise gradually and progressively over time and aim, wherever possible, to increase their confidence. Make sure they are getting everything they need at home such as a comfortable environment to study in and a well-balanced diet, and reward them regularly for their achievements. We wish you and your child the best of luck in their exams!
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