It’s that time of the year. Advent calendars are spilling their daily treats, Jack Frost seems to be a daily visitor first thing of a morning and Christmas songs are officially ‘allowed’. A great time for students to put their feet up and relax yes? Well, not so much if they have exams coming up.
How can you support your child without the magic of time off over December being decimated?
Break it up
Make sure that revision doesn’t overtake the other important parts of life over the festive break. If your child is likely to put unnecessary pressures on themselves there can be a very real risk of this happening. Chatting to them about their revision timetable and how they have built in breaks for the fun stuff is a great way of ensuring that they do not miss out on the lighter side of life. If they haven’t built any in, speak to them about the ways in which this can actually help them to do better – a less stressed mind is a brilliant one to walk into an exam hall owning!
If, on the other hand, your child is not likely to pick up a book to revise without some serious nagging, try to take the tension out of the situation by ensuring that you both agree to a more structured approach. For example, your child may not like to be ‘told’ that they must revise at a certain time. But, if you can agree that they revise for a certain amount of time each day / week, and attach something positive to it – anything from simple praise, to the trip out you were already going on but will delay to allow them to fit in their scheduled amount of revision they need to do – your child is far more likely to engage in their learning in a way that suits them and leads to more successful outcomes.
It’s Christmas. There are myriad distractions for the keenest of learners at this time of year, never-mind the less keen among our children! If your child is revising for a mock exam, take heart from the fact that this isn’t for real. Your child hasn’t yet finished their course of learning; their results are not the be-all and end-all. That said, mocks are a great way to give your child a reality check if one is needed. Especially come results day.
If your child is taking a final exam in the new year, things may be different and the pressure may feel greater. This is something that can affect the whole family. Take a step back and remember that your child has spent the greatest part of their young life in school preparing for these exams. Quality revision is, of course, always helpful, but no matter how much (or little) they have done, much of the ground-work has been laid long before these last few weeks. The fact that you are there and on hand for help, support and talking can, for many students, make all the difference.