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Share your tips for helping your DC through the exam period with – chance to win £300 voucher! NOW CLOSED

(190 Posts)
EmmaMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 06-Mar-17 10:27:20

Whether your DC are at primary school, secondary school, or doing their A levels, exams can be a challenging time. want to find out how you help your DCs through this period and for you to share any tips you have for making the process easier.

“You might not have the knowledge to help your child to revise for an exam, but you will be able to help them to gain the skills they need to maximise their success. You can also help to build their confidence, ease their stress and support them if things don’t go quite to plan. With experienced tutors, downloadable papers, and video tutorials is the closest online experience which replicates the home tutor experience, at a fraction of the price.”

So how do you support your DC during exam time? Do you work with them on a revision timetable which includes planned breaks to help your DC stay focused and avoid last-minute panics? Or do you make sure they get lots of sleep and eat ‘brain food’ the morning of an exam? Is it a constant battle to get them to revise or are you more worried about them working too hard. Perhaps you are really involved and quiz them with flash cards on their subjects? Or maybe you're more laissez-fare, leaving them to get on with revision on their own.

However you help your DCs through the exam period, please share your tips below and you will be in with a chance to win a £300 voucher of your choice (from a list).

Thanks and good luck!


Standard Insight T&Cs Apply

aggga8 Mon 06-Mar-17 13:16:03

During exam time i try to give my kids ,brain food- nuts, banana, and lemon and honey with water to drink. We try to go for walk, good sleep and no TV smile

TeenAndTween Mon 06-Mar-17 13:29:37

- fresh air and exercise built into every revision day
- small low cost present after every exam (and for younger sibling too)
- testing and going through stuff 1-1
- lots of positive talk and praise

for dyspraxic DD also
- organising revision with her right down to what topics to be done in any session
- wrote all science & maths revision cards for/with her

Cambam2010 Mon 06-Mar-17 13:49:42

During test times I find that little and often is the key for my DS (6years). Too much in one go leads to an over load and a confidence breakdown. If we are doing times tables we will work on it for a few minutes in a classroom method and then go off and do something else. But whilst doing something different I will incorporate what we have been learning but in a none school way so that it isn't obvious that I am continuing the lesson. We put what he has been learning into real life scenarios.

BeeMyBaby Mon 06-Mar-17 15:24:56

We make sure that if the DDs have a test coming up, we make sure that the week before we spend at least 15-30mins each night revising with them 1:1 and it also tends to need a sweet incentive.

CMOTDibbler Mon 06-Mar-17 15:40:54

Their favourite foods, and not making other demands on them in their spare time - during exams is not the time to inflict a visit to Great Aunt Ethel, but rather to be allowed to play with friends or do something nice and undemanding

FuckingHateRats Mon 06-Mar-17 17:14:31

Making sure they have a good night's sleep,that they're eating enough of the right things, that they have perspective and keep ow to try their best but it's not the only thing that matters.

Tonkatol Mon 06-Mar-17 18:12:05

For me, the approach for each of my children has been different - they are all individuals and have different needs. My eldest DD would spend all day and night revising if I let her, so I would have to make sure she took breaks and didn't get too tired and emotional. I would test her with revision cards she had made, to help her confidence. I would send her out with the dog, so that she got some fresh air and exercise. I made sure she ate regular, healthy meals and had plenty of water to drink and I would send her to bed when I knew she was tired. However, with my DD who has ADHD, I needed to encourage her to revise and keep re-focusing her on the subject she was revising. We broke her revision into bite-size chunks to make it more manageable. She also found that staying in school to revise on days where she had an exam and even occasionally going in even with no exams was helpful, as there would be teachers available to answer questions.

theresamustgo Mon 06-Mar-17 20:12:46

Sleep, lots of breaks, a relaxed atmosphere and the odd treat for a break.

foxessocks Mon 06-Mar-17 20:52:43

Regular breaks, decent meals, good quality revision so testing yourself, practice questions etc rather than just highlighting pages and pages (like I used to do!)

loopyloulaura Mon 06-Mar-17 20:54:30
My kids aren't old enough for exams yet but I intend to remind them to do their best not aim for the highest grades unless they are achievable. Make sure they are prepared with equipment for the exam and get there on time. Take time to speak to them about the subjects to increase their confidence.

IonaAilidh11 Mon 06-Mar-17 21:01:45

good nights sleep, revision plan timetable and some rests

del2929 Mon 06-Mar-17 21:03:25

Ensuring they had a good nights sleep
Telling them they can only try their best
not to worry
helping them with revision
making it fun- esp for younger ones

Serin Mon 06-Mar-17 21:19:44

I have been leaving DS very much to his own devices, DH is a teacher so it isn't that we don't value education, it's just that DH has seen so many children pushed to their limits and beyond sad

We have been cutting him lots of slack, I have been tidying his room and making sure his cadets uniform and sports kit (he is still training 4 times a week before school) are all ready for him. He usually sorts this himself.

In some ways I feel like we are flying in the face of what school is telling him, eg they have told him to leave his hobbies for now. But we believe that DS will do what is right for him, if he gets great grades he will probably go on to Uni like his sister, if he doesn't then he will have to find something else. There is no shame in taking up an apprenticeship or joining the military.

123julie321 Mon 06-Mar-17 21:56:00

I help DS and DD through exams by planning lots of fun surprises to reward them when they've finished an exam and when they've been working hard. It really lifts their spirits and keeps them motivated. It doesn't have to be a big thing - perhaps cooking their favourite dinner, buying them a new set of fancy gel pens, organising a trip to the cinema at the weekend or letting them plan a sleepover with their friends for whenever the exams are over smile

OhYouBadBadKitten Mon 06-Mar-17 22:01:56

After each gcse exam dd got to pick from a lucky dip box I made. It was silly, but fun. Cooked breakfast each exam morning.
I also learned not to rise to stress by arguing back when she was grumpy and to build in treats.

It's important to teach them how to be nice to themselves when they are stressed.

Hopezibah Mon 06-Mar-17 22:17:34

Each of my sons approaches exam time differently - one is very studious and 'academic', he loves exams and tests, revises hard, needs no incentives to study and does really well.

The other gets stressed, worried and anxious. doesn't like to study. the academic stuff doesn't come naturally - he much prefers hands on learning.

So with first son, I let him get on with it and just allow him time to study and have plenty of snacks around.

For second son, i spend a lot of time just being with him, chatting and trying to ease his worries by putting exams in the context of life overall (not the be all and end all of everything) and how he has loads of wonderful qualities that will do him well in life whatever the outcome of exams.

When he is ready then I will help him get started on revision or give him tips for a system to get organised.

Singingforsanity Mon 06-Mar-17 22:38:42

Get the study guides at the right time from Waterstones and they're buy one get one half price!

kateandme Tue 07-Mar-17 00:44:20

impossible to answer because every child is different.
know your child and go by instinct.but don't give up.
major dos:support.
what do they love.treat them.
watch from afar as often they want to feel they are doing it on their own.but equally if they flounder see it and make sure you can step up. they are so vunerable at this will make them ratty,confued,angry,tearful and moods will be all over the place. don't let them off things but be aware and gaige your emotion responses to things from this.
aks them what they they want you to make a plan,get you books,help support. keep in with teacher to see how they are doing.
if your concerned yet they wont take help.give little I love you notes on a here just ask. keep them feeling that at any poin t they can ru nto you.
revision guides are great.there are a few really fun ones. if they wont accept them try just leaving them out so they aren't too proud to accept help directly but could find them if they need.
be there be be be there.
don't push. don't make them feel they need to pass or get the best grades but let them know you want them to do well because success just means doing there best whatever results it brings.
wathc out for signs of stress.
don't let other kids or parents rule your own or childs thining on how this times should be.every child is different.

FeelingSmurfy Tue 07-Mar-17 09:10:36

Planned breaks so they have something to work towards
Be a bit more lenient than normal to mood swings etc
Treat at the weekend, a movie and a favourite tea or something like that

voyager50 Tue 07-Mar-17 09:48:49

I don't have any children of exam age so don't have any experience of preparing teenagers for exams but I remember that when I did mine I had index cards stuck to various places throughout the house.

When I was sitting the exam I would remember the facts from reading them over and over : Kitchen cabinet - Galen - 4 humours, Vesalius - circulation of the blood', bathroom door - Corn laws repeal dates etc!

I work as an exams invigilator so see I first hand how some students are totally unprepared for them or rush through without knowing what they should be doing.

My top tip is to make sure they read the instructions on the front of the paper twice to make sure they only answer the questions they need to. Just because in all the mock papers from previous years you have to answer two questions from section A and one from section B it doesn't mean the board will have set it the same this year!

And - always write in BLACK pen - this is an exam board requirement!

Blogwoman Tue 07-Mar-17 11:34:11

I've offered support in 3 areas - practical, physical and emotional.
Practical: varies according to each DCs learning styles. They find YouTube videos of other teens sharing their study methods useful. One thing we worked out ourselves was a revision timetable with a system which allowed revision sessions (coded by subject) to be moved within that week's timetable; this built in some flexibility whilst ensuring that DD covered everything she intended to that week.
Physical: good food, plenty to drink (water!), exercise and enough sleep - the latter particularly requires some discipline on their part. Also trying to gain a good balance between work, leisure and sleep. DD1 (now doing A levels) found it very helpful to read about thinking of the day in 3 chunks of 8 hours, & to aim for 8 hours each on work, time off and sleep. When she's done the 8 hours work, it feels legitimate to take time off.
Emotional: the hardest! In terms of rewards, DD1 is using an app which logs periods spent working and rewards her with additions to a virtual forest - good visual display of how much work she's done. I remind her to be kind to herself, accept that sometimes she won't be able to do all the work planned, or it may take longer, and to reassure her that she always does her best (and that may not match her ideal at all times, and that's ok) and that there's always a plan B.

sharond101 Tue 07-Mar-17 12:34:14

I don't have any school age children but hope to just be there to support my kids when it's there turn. I hope to not put any pressure or expectations on them and want to just let them know I am there for them. Offering them to come for walks, swim chill out and providing for them.

ILostItInTheEarlyNineties Tue 07-Mar-17 12:52:20

Making sure they have a quiet space in the house to revise.
A desk with comfortable chair away from distractions.
I encourage my teens to write a revision time table and give encouragement but not pressure. They have enough pressure at school and need to find their own motivation to succeed.

Theimpossiblegirl Tue 07-Mar-17 15:15:39

As well as ensuring time, support and opportunity for revision, allow for plenty of down-time too. Relaxing, having breaks, regular meals and sleep are all essential for children to get through exams.

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