Helping your children
We have years of collective experience in the classroom, but we are also parents. Tests, assessments and especially public examinations can be difficult for students to prepare for. Schools welcome parental engagement and involvement in their child’s learning; it evidently improves their confidence and performance.
Here are some tips for everyone in the family to achieve the very best they can within their own capacity, either as a student or as their parent.
Offer your help
You can’t take their exams for them, but you can offer yourself as a reader, listener or exam tester if they have a book of questions.
Show that you are on their side. Encourage them with praise where it is due, but do not permit them to fall short of their capabilities. If they get anxious or stressed, be a picture of serenity - even if it is sometimes hard. Help them work out a timetable for revision that includes and fits well around their other activities.
Avoid making comparisons of their attitudes or performance with friends, older siblings or yourself when you were at school.
Manage their environment and diet
Make their revision environment as close as possible to that of the exam for best performance. It should be calm, uncluttered and comfortable.
Avoid distractions from screens or phones. Music is scientifically proven to lower attention, but if they insist on listening to it, music without words is proven to be less of a distraction.
A healthy diet of vegetables, fruit and lean meats or fish can help. Reduce sugar and fatty snacks, however comforting they may be. Staying hydrated is especially important for the brain.
Such pretty books. I like the concise boxes of information as well. Thank you for making it so easy to catch up in my subject.
My son has started making much better progress in his class thanks to this guide. I caught him reading it the other day without any prompt too!
Provide exam-style questions
Encourage your child to use exam-style questions or those from past papers for their revision and practice. This helps to revisit topics in a style that they can become familiar with and learn from.
Using the mark scheme to mark their own work can be one of the most useful tools. Many students learn lots from the mark schemes of a good set of questions.
Space out learning
Space out the learning with your son or daughter. Revisiting the same subjects regularly with gaps in between improves learning. Forgetting and relearning is what cements things into the brain.
Scientifically, and unsurprisingly, cramming doesn’t work. As a general rule, divide the remaining time before the exam into 10 and use that as the ideal period after which to revisit each topic.
Move them up the levels of learning
Encourage your child to read, repeat, cover, explain and then to teach someone else. This increases the opportunity to really understand what they are reading and to apply it to other questions. Being able to explain something to someone else in their own way or argue a point is far more helpful for exam performance than simply remembering facts.
Write stuff down
How many times have you forgotten your handwritten shopping list, only to find you remember lots of it?
The very act of writing something down involves a visual, kinaesthetic (movement) and mental process which significantly increases the change of remembering it, even if you never read it again.
My daughter is going to love these guides. I can’t stop reading them myself!
We bought some of your ClearRevise guides recently and they are great. I must admit that I have been going through them all in the evenings which is really helping me support [daughter].
The science of revision