As a parent, it can be difficult to know how to best help your child prepare for their GCSE exams. However, there are many ways you can support them during this stressful time and relieve some of the pressure they are under. Even if you are just making sure they are eating breakfast on the day of an exam, the smallest help can make a difference. This guide discusses the top ways to support your child on the run up to and the day of their GCSE exams.
On the lead up to exam season, it is crucial that your child is revising for their GCSE exams. The secret to good grades lies in the planning. As a parent, you can work with your child to develop a revision plan that fits both of your schedules.
Remember to include short breaks within the revision plan; studying is more effective in shorter bursts, as it allows the brain to switch off for a short period of time, refocus and assimilate information. I recommend a 5-to-10-minute break at the least once an hour.
The GCSE revision plan should also include days off from time to time to ensure your child isn’t overworking and they are still doing things they enjoy, which can reduce stress.
Staying in the Loop
Different schools use different exam boards, have different homework schedules and different ways they support their students with revision. As a result, it is important that you stay informed with any school updates, this can be done by following to their social media accounts, regularly checking emails, or contacting the school directly for information. Usually, schools will hold additional after-school revision sessions on the run up to exams, knowing when these are on and making sure your child is attending them is important.
Encouraging Good Study Skills
There are a few simple ways you can encourage better study skills, such as ensuring your child is keeping on top of their homework. Whilst homework can seem like a chore at times, it has been designed to support their in-class learning. If your child is struggling with their homework, then you should speak to their teacher and explain the situation; this can help to identify any difficulties your child is having with their GCSE studies and overcome them.
Another way to encourage better study skills is by creating a ‘study space’ within your home. This should be an area of the house that is quiet and distraction free, so your child can focus on their revision with no interruptions. Making sure your child has the equipment they need at their ‘study space’, such as stationary, notebooks and flash cards, can help them organise their work.
Tips for Exam Days
Being there for your child on the run up to exams is significantly beneficial and can help your child achieve better grades. You can also support your child on the days they have exams by:
- Making sure they get a good night’s sleep.
- Get them to eat a substantial breakfast before they leave. Food is brain fuel.
- Making the house a calm environment, this includes avoiding any arguments, as arguments can cause a further build-up of stress.
- Ensure they get to their exam with plenty of time to spare.
- If they are feeling up to it, you can do a quick-fire question game with flash cards.
If you are worried that your child isn’t doing as well as they could/should be, and their school agrees, you could seek additional support for their studies. There are a few options, with the main ones being getting support from a personal tutor in your local area, or by using online tutor resources.
A popular online GCSE learning resource for parents and children is GCSEPod, which is by schools, teachers, parents, and students across the UK. GCSEPod is designed to engage children in their GCSE learning and revision by using a combination of interactive learning tools, pods (short videos), quizzes and assessments. Whilst GCSEPod requires a subscription to access all learning materials, they have a range of free resources for children to use. They also have free resources that are specifically for parents, helping them understand how to support their children during the stress of GCSEs, see here.