Skip to main content

Exam wars!



Easter holidays are coming to an end and the exams are in sight.  If your child is facing external exams, that can mean all kinds of stress.  But even if your child has to sit the internal end-of-year exams it can still create pressure.


Every child is different.  Some can sit an exam without batting an eyelid, others may be top of their class, but the minute they’re in exam conditions, panic wipes their memory of everything they’ve learned!


You can’t enter the exam room to calm your child down, but you can help them to prepare.


Know your child

Revision is essential.  If it’s nearly two years since a particular aspect of a subject was studied, the memory needs to be refreshed.  How does your child revise best?


  • Does reading her notes and/or textbooks work for her?
  • Does he remember better when he writes things out? By hand or on the screen? (TIP:  handwriting engages the creative right-brain, a keyboard is more mechanical left-brain activity, which helps them to learn best?  Some kids find mind-mapping a handy skill to learn.)
  • Does he remember more by discussing the subject with friends (or you)?
  • Does she need to physically repeat activities or experiments to pin the knowledge down?
  • Could she find experiments or processes on YouTube and refresh her memory by watching those?


Find out what works best for your child and see what you can do to facilitate their preferred way of working.


The right environment

Of course, there are kids who can study in a busy place – and you might think your child has the capacity to block external noise out, based on their ability to ‘not hear’ what you’re saying.  However, the fewer distractions, the better their retention of information is likely to be.


If they share a bedroom, that may not be the right place for revision.  Could they use a dining area or do you have a home study that they could borrow for revision?


Sitting in front of a screen for long periods isn’t good.  In fact, sitting anywhere for a long period probably isn’t ideal.  Encourage them to break for a drink and stretch every half hour or so.


Encourage them to drink water rather than fizzy, sugar-laden drinks or energy drinks.  Also snacks should err on the side of healthy!  A sugar buzz dies very quickly!


If there are other kids in the family who aren’t studying, there needs to be some give and take. You don’t want war to break out between those who want peace and quiet and those who feel they are forced to creep about while big sister or brother is studying.


Schoolfriends studying together can be a positive situation – as long as they are all benefitting from it and they are studying, not planning their Prom!


Aim for support and guidance, rather than a rod of steel and your kids will appreciate that you care.