How Best to Help Your Child Prepare for Their GCSE Exams
As a caring parent you want to be able to help your child do the best they can in everything they take on. Sitting for exams is a normal part of growing up and with the correct guidance you will be able to provide your child with the kind of support he or she would need to excel.
How to Be There for Your Child without Being Pushy
It is very important to give your child space to grow and learn things at their own pace, but it is equally important to step in and take charge when you feel the circumstances necessitate it. Unfortunately there is a delicate balance and as a parent it is important not to come on too strong, as this might work adversely and turn your child off studying altogether.
In order to be able to comfortably strike a happy medium, the following points are well worth some consideration:
- Starting early is always a good idea. Planning months ahead and starting your child on revision exercises and test questions will help to keep negative elements from dominating. Fear, frustration, panic attacks and stress can all be avoided or at least dramatically decreased if you encourage your child to start studying and revising a long way ahead before the actual final exams.
- Helping your child plan an actual study timetable in detail is also very important. This way your child will have a set schedule on what, when and how to study a particular subject. This is also important as it will give your child ample time to explore areas within the subject that is causing confusion and get it within a more manageable phase.
- Although it may seem rather trivial, getting all the necessary “tools” together before your child actually sits down for a study session is quite important. Disruptions because of having to leave the study environment to look for things is not going to allow your child’s mind to stay within a highly focused state, thus rendering the time spent regaining some semblance of concentration tiresome.
- Try and provide your child with a quiet and distraction free environment in which he or she can comfortably study in. Encourage your child to explore which time of the day suits their study mode best and then help them settle down into a study routine according to this chosen time.
- The actual study area is also just as important as the material used and the distraction element. A cool and brightly lit room would be better and subconsciously encourage the mind to settle down and focus better.
- When actually attempting to study subjects that are particularly challenging for your child, encourage the use of charts, pictures, cue cards, mind maps and any other useful “tools” to help jog the memory and better retain information.
- Teach your child to write down important bits of information or key words on postils and then stick them in strategic locations so that the constant factual reminders eventually become second nature to your child.
- Help your child design their study periods to include several short breaks. Resting the mind and perhaps getting a snack at the same time will help your child maintain concentration levels more effectively.
- Quiz games can be another fun way to help your child remember important facts. You may surprise yourself and learn a thing or two, which may also work as an inspiration and challenge for your child to outdo you.
- You may also find it beneficial to consider extra tuition for your child, especially in subjects that prove to be frustrating and exhausting. Find a tutor who can turn the subject matter around and present it in an exciting and less daunting format. This will help encourage your child to find new excitement in the particular subject.
- Encourage your child to drink lots of water and other liquids during the study session. This will help keep your child hydrated and energised.
- Teach your child to understand the concepts of what is being studied. Understanding the subject in depth will allow your child to recall any particular piece of information pertaining to the subject in a much easier and faster fashion. Trying to memorise facts without really understanding their basis will eventually lead to a lot of confusion and lack of memory retention skills. The mind is “funny” about retaining information it does not understand nor has any interest in.
- Do some research and find out the most appropriate study styles for each different subject. Although this may seem rather strange, certain distinct styles can help your child retain more information than others. For instance, tackling the subject of maths requires a lot of detailed studying of a particular problem and then practising how to solve it; whereas in the case of studying for the subject of history, your child would need to simply read and take note of important facts.
- Encouraging your child to form study groups with like-minded students is also another ideal way of sharing and preparing for tests. Studying as a group is not only interesting, but it also helps your child participate in “check and balance” exercises.
- Constantly assure your child of your confidence in him/her to do well in any tests. It will help your child build self-confidence and give them the winning mind set to do well. It will also teach them to train their mind to not give into the idea of failing, but instead to do all they can to ensure optimal results.
- The closer your child gets to the exam dates, be positive by using a lot of positive affirmation when you communicate. All this positivity will evolve in your child having a strong and unshakeable confidence in his/her ability to excel.
- During the exam itself, encourage your child to move on to the next question as quickly as possible, and only go back to the ones unanswered when there is time. Teach your child not to waste time lingering on questions they have little hope of answering accurately.
In the end, by wanting the best for your child you should always remember not to go overboard in your efforts to help.