Exam help and guidance for Exam Season
At this point in the school year, many parents may be thinking: How can I help my child with exams?
November mock exams can be nerve-wracking for some students, however, they are a good starting point to benchmark your progress and seek out any further support you might need.
That might be a 1:1 private tutor, however, you may just need a better game plan. Here are Karen Ormerod’s top tips for surviving and thriving in the upcoming exam season.
Why mock exams matter
If this is your first time at formal exams, then you’ll need to know they are called ‘mocks’ for a reason. They are designed to familiarise your child with the process of public examinations and at the same time give an accurate picture of where they are on that flight path. This is an excellent time to set up routines and systems for the next examinations you will encounter.
It is important that students still try their absolute best, particularly in light of the recent pandemic. Should your child be unwell during the final GCSE or A-Level exams, their average mock results could be used to inform their final grade.
Know thyself – Your child’s learning style
One of the most important aspects of learning or revising is knowing how you learn or remember things best.
Some students are visual learners- in which case we’d highly recommend Oaka books. Their curriculum-based revision guides are visual and colourful representations of what might take a lot of reading to convey. They have revision guides and learning resources for KS1, KS2, KS3, KS4, GCSE & common entrance to boost enthusiasm, understanding and memory recall. Oaka Topic Packs, quite simply, make learning easier. They are clear and concise and use three learning strategies to aid understanding and information retention.
Your child might be a student who learns well by writing things out over again or they may have a propensity for remembering things by listening. YouTube can be a good resource here if used wisely with recommended, educational channels.
Practice Past Exam Papers
Although this shouldn’t be the only resource used, past papers can prove incredibly helpful for the following reasons:
- Familiarisation with the paper layout
- Knowing the ‘marks’ for each question and practising longer/shorter answers
- Familiarisation with the mark scheme- most exam boards publish past papers and mark schemes- your child can easily try out a paper and assess themselves in this way
- Using the mark scheme a student can pick out areas they need to work on further
The phone is not their friend
During exams week, sleep is going to be your child’s best friend, not their phone. The blue light emitted by phones can cause brains to fire up and not calm down ready to sleep. Exam performance is certainly inhibited by lack of sleep so setting a time for no screens can be incredibly helpful.
Boost them with a pep-talk
Confidence is king in exams and a little bit of stress makes people ‘perform’ a little better. Think about sports players and how they deal with the big match. A pep talk in the changing rooms and a little nervousness can help with performance. Too much anxiety, however, can impact memory- and memory recall is crucial for exams.
Wellbeing tips to aid memory and decrease stress
- Breathing: Teach your child the importance and power of the breath. Meditation can help but get them into the mindset of breathing deeply when they feel anxious. Help your child to be their own hero by encouraging them to adopt the mantra “I’ve got this”.
- Eat well
- Drink plenty of water
- Sleep well
- Exercise well
During the exam itself
In the exam itself, here at Elite Tutors Sussex, we have plenty of tips and techniques to support your child. You can enlist the services of a 1:1 exam technique tutor for the best results. We highly recommend that students focus on just themselves and try not to compare themselves to others as this will only bring more anxiety.
Last minute exam hack for your child
This is a technique that I teach to my students and has helped them during the real-time stress of an exam, you can help your child by encouraging them to do this:
“If your mind goes blank, stop for a moment.
Close your eyes and 3 deep breaths.
Move your head in a circular motion one way and then back the other.
Don’t spend time on a question you are stuck on, you’ll feel more worried. Instead, move on and answer questions you do know, circling back if you have time when you complete the paper.
And remember: Breathe. You’ve got this.”
Exam tutors available online or face to face
We can connect you with the best tutors in Sussex to help your child achieve success this exam season. We have a number of exceptional tutors who specialise in their subjects and are available face-to-face in your home setting, or online. Get in touch with us to find out more about what support Elite Tutors can offer your child.
Written by Karen Ormerod
Company Director and Education Consultant at Elite Tutors Sussex