Whether you have a child taking their first school assessments or counting down to final GCSE or A Level examinations we all want to know how best to support them. With ever increasing demands placed upon teachers they do a fantastic job preparing students on how to prepare for a potentially stressful period. However, the volume of information your child receives and what filters back to you can be minimal and so here are our top tops for positive exam preparation that actually works.
1. Create a realistic revision timetable now!
- With only 19 weeks before the start of the exam season, it can be helpful to have a visual plan. In order to stick with it flexibility is key. If you’re allowed to help your child timetable their revision start by writing down holidays, parties and recreation time first. Include ‘mop up’ sessions for catching up so if they fall behind there’s no need to start again or more commonly throw the schedule in the bin!
2. Know your objectives.
- Your child has years of information under their belts it can be a challenge to filter out the most pertinent points. Each exam board has a detailed specification, but this can seem like a mission to navigate. Most teachers, text books and revisions guides will have a more accessible version that can be used as a checklist when your child is revising.
3. Revision should be based on prior knowledge.
- This may sound obvious, but if your child doesn’t understand something that they’re due to be examined on encourage them to ask for help. It takes precious time trying to teach yourself something from scratch and can become stressful if it’s not working.
4. Be resource savvy.
- There are myriad revision tools online and in print. Teachers can guide you towards most, but as long as you know the exam board for a particular subject it’s worth getting your child to google a few different ones to prevent revision going stale. There is evidence to suggest that hours spent creating immaculate flash cards, posters and quizzes is not as effective as using them. All these resources can be bought or are often free online.
5. Test and challenge.
- If you ask your child what they don’t know they’ll either say everything or be unsure, it’s an uncomfortable question! Through topic tests, 7 minute mind maps and quizzes your child can rank the areas of the syllabus they need to spend most time practising.
6. Past paper questions.
- Research carried out in Australia and Europe suggests that the students obtaining the highest grades could not be predicted by IQ, but on how many past papers they had completed. At this point in the course your child should have been exposed to a number legacy papers to get them used to question style and format, but don’t panic them if this is not the case. This summer most subjects are examined on the new specification so teachers may have limited access to new material. However, text books and revision guides along with the exam board’s website will offer a small selection of sample assessment material. In addition legacy papers from the relevant board will be beneficial as long as your child selects topics in the current specification and available online.