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How much studying should they be doing for national 5/ standard grade exams

(13 Posts)
PJ67 Sun 18-Jan-15 07:37:07

My ds is 15 and currently doing his prelim exams in preparation for the national 5's in May (scotland). I'm trying to get him to study and he is doing some but spending much more time on his play station! How much is reasonable to expect them to do?

chocoluvva Sun 18-Jan-15 10:14:15


DS claims he doesn't know what to study/have revision materials.

I'd be even more stressed about his minimal study if he were my first; his older sibling did well with her S4 exams with minimal studying.

Highers are an altogether different story.

RJnomore Sun 18-Jan-15 10:15:26

Well my dd has hardly been seen for the last few weeks apart from appearing occasionally with books for me to quiz her on.

I think she's perhaps overly stressed ?

tilliebob Sun 18-Jan-15 10:22:45

My DS1 did his prelims in December, and the result was he didn't study enough. When I was at his school eons ago prelims were a safe net for you to appeal with if you stuffed up your O grades. Now they seem mega tough to scare you into studying. One of DD's teachers who also has DS1 was explaining this to me on parents evening on Thursday.

He got a B in this best subject although we'd been assured he'll "walk" an A at N5. Last year's prelim results had no one getting higher than a B but more than half did get an A in the actual exam.

DS1 studies like I did - with music blaring. He tends to read over and over things and go on BBC revision sites and sites given to them by teachers. We printed out some past papers too on recommendation of some teachers. I am trying to get him to write out the important points now or do mind maps, as I found those helpful too.

There's so much continual assessment throughout the courses too that not so much rides on some exams. Now he's done the prelims he's had a bit of a wake up and knows what's expected and has knuckled down a bit more. He has 8 subjects although we're doing DD choices next week and they're only getting to do 7 as 8 is too much, apparently, with the demands of CfE.

chocoluvva Sun 18-Jan-15 10:26:26

I'm green with envy RJ - here's a selfie - envy

Seriously though, if OP's DS is anything like mine he might not realise that there's a world of difference between having a general understanding of the curriculum and being able to pass exams well. I'm trying to impress upon DS (don't know if I'm succeeding) that he needs to have info at his fingertips so he can trot it out quickly and/or apply it to questions.
Also to keep thinking about likely questions while he revises rather than just reading through stuff/doing past papers.

DS would happily revise without putting pen to paper. I've tried to tell him that he'll have the info at his fingertips if he's read it, written it down/summarised it/highlighted it/heard it etc.

I can't get mine to focus on the exams the morning before - I used to read summarised notes last thing before bed and again in the morning of the exam. Not my DC though....

Therealyellowwiggle Sun 18-Jan-15 10:33:42

If your dcs aren't sure what to cover: it's everything that's been taught. If they don't have revision notes: it's everything they've been given/written down so far.
I don't know every subject but most of the coursework now is just to confirm you've passed each bit, the unit assessments don't add to your final mark at all, there might also be one projecty-type unit that does carry over.

chocoluvva Sun 18-Jan-15 10:37:20

Should they be revising S3 work?

RJnomore Sun 18-Jan-15 10:42:17

I'm genuinely worried she's over doing it. She's just come down to say she's spent the morning cleaning because she's finding it hard to study because her room is messy.

I remember being nervous about actual exams/prelims but I don't remember the sort of stress the school has put her under this year. I think the teachers have been lecturing and lecturing for the benefit of the less conscientious students and she's just panicking as a result.

She's predicted good results, she's certainly capable and she is putting the time in, I just hope the anxiety doesn't work against her. It's rather bizarre to be the parent and be telling her NOT to take it all so seriously.

chocoluvva Sun 18-Jan-15 11:01:30

Is she doing prelims now too? Hopefully she'll get very high marks and realise that she can manage with less time spent.

I agree that the schools actively try to frighten their pupils in order to chivvy on the ones who don't bother. Also there's too much talk about having an amazing career/choosing now so that the rest of your life will be okay/good grades are the b' all and end all etc. IMO this attempt to put pressure on them either backfires in the case of DC like mine who feel overwhelmed at the very thought of choosing a uni course and become hopeless or bust a gut.

Therealyellowwiggle Sun 18-Jan-15 11:49:29

Choco that's hard to answer re S3 work, it will really depend on the approach to the nats that the school has taken. Mostly I'd say no, but the school may have had time to cover relevant stuff in S3 - definitely easy one for the teacher to answer though.
It's hard when a class is split about 50/50 with students who work hard every night, did all their homework, and really care about doing well on one side, and then on the other those who check Facebook during class, say they'll revise for the actual exam only, and blame their teachers if their mark isn't good - how do you give relevant pep talks! I temper mine with "some of you" this and "some of you" that, but it probably misses the mark.

RJnomore Sun 18-Jan-15 12:14:51

Prelims start tomorrow.

I am booking a summer holiday tonight. I think we ALL need to feel like there is an end in sight.

Wiggle, I don't know how you deal with those differing attitudes in one class, but it sure feels like the amount of pressure they are under now is huge compared to when I was at school.

chocoluvva Sun 18-Jan-15 12:22:47

Thank you yellowwiggle

I do appreciate that secondary teachers must have a difficult job, with some parents having unrealistic expectations and/or unhelpful attitudes to their DC's children.

I'm amazed at the number of DC I know (middle-class school catchments) who don't bother much about their exams. I didn't think my two would be so frustratingly ahem laid back. On the other hand, I do think they feel that some/many of their teachers are quick to give up on those pupils who don't work extremely hard and put too much emphasis on how 'successful' the school appears to be. I'd say they take note of teachers who are obviously enthusiastic about their subject.

DD was advised to consider not sitting one of her highers as a result of doing quite badly in her prelim. She went on to get an A in that subject! Which she needed. Her teacher advised me to get her to do practice work but said she didn't have time to mark it. Well, I knew DD wouldn't do work that wasn't going to be marked.

She was also very put out to have her name omitted from the list of pupils who had taken part in a competition - she volunteered when a teacher asked for volunteers, knowing that she was unlikely to do well, but thinking it would be fun. Only the pupils who did well were mentioned....

DS is supposed to have his diary checked by his teachers after every lesson as he is incredibly disorganised. Now he would hate that, but I get mightily fed up of his teachers complaining to me that he's disorganised. Obviously teenagers are a nightmare and it's in their interests to do as well at school as they can. But I sometimes think that schools give them the impression that you're a bad person if you're disorganised/don't work hard. Which turns my two right off. Which is immature of course. But then they are teenagers

I suppose the message for teachers to give all their pupils is 'Do your best.'

Sorry for the rant. I have an on going frustration with the fact my two don't do their best and the utmost appreciation for some of their teachers. But also disappointment with the impression given by some of their teachers that they don't actually care about them.

Gosh what a rant. Something I feel strongly about. (btw my DC are not disruptive in class - not gobby or feisty, so it's only themselves they hurt by not trying hard - not the rest of the class)

PJ67 Sun 18-Jan-15 18:50:04

Thanks of the replies, it's good to know I'm not alone! I think I'm more stressed than him! The problem with my ds is that he doesn't like listening to advice and thinks he know's best (takes that from me so we clash big time!). Also, like choco said, nothing is written down and I'm trying to emphasise that he needs to write things down, underline key points etc, but maybe they just study different to how I did.
I'm a bit annoyed with the school as they are recommending nat 4 for computing even though he got around 60% average in the class tests but he got 70+ for one and failed the other but still passed overall. I think they're just worried about their result tables so I've told them he will be sitting nat 5. Really want him to do well in the prelim to show them. I agree that they probably make them quite hard so hopefully he will continue studying after theme rather than wait to last minute.

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