How can I support my child through their upcoming GCSE or A-Level Exams?
An impending exam can create apprehension in parents, as well as their hard-working children. No matter how well-prepared a pupil is, the moment they turn over that exam paper, they are on their own. It can be a daunting experience that can negatively impact your child’s grades. But if they can bring together the study skills and support provided by their learning institution, a private GCSE or A-Level tutor as well as their parents, they will have the best chance of performing to their utmost ability.
GCSE and A-Level Easter Revision Courses
At this time of year, Easter holiday revision courses certainly help in general revision and exam techniques. A private GCSE tutor can come into his or her own, teaching the independent study skills which are as essential to an individual’s progress as their exam subject knowledge. Your tutor will suggest active revision techniques, time management skills, and memory strategies customised to the unique way in which an individual child learns.
Timing is everything
We know that teenagers, due to the developing nature of their brains, tend to respond intuitively and emotionally rather than rationally. This is often a point of contention with parents who suggest what seems to them a logical routine – ‘Get up early to revise’, ‘Don’t go out the night before your exam’ – only to be rebuffed. A private tutor will know how to encourage a child’s organisational and forward-planning skills with the right amount of firmness and sensitivity.
GCSE and A-Level Exam related anxiety
Research across 72 countries undertaken in 2015 by the OECD, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, showed that girls suffered higher schoolwork-related anxiety levels than boys. With exams looming, tutors may suggest a variety of suggested stress reduction techniques, delivered from a perspective that takes the background and development of the pupil into account.
Have a tutor to hand the week before exams
A tutor will be on hand to deliver strategy and support in the week leading up to an exam. They will provide a resource that a child can access with any last-minute worries, and their presence may help to dispel the tensions which can build up within a family unit. He or she may provide advice on staying physically well and mentally calm during the final few days.
Confidence building strategies and techniques
The beginning of an exam is a vulnerable moment. Having turned over the paper, a child can be filled with self-doubt even though they are actually very well prepared. Confidence-building strategies to counter this moment are critical and they will have been discussed and rehearsed in previous weeks.
Together, the pupil and tutor will also have gone through the timing of an exam. They will have covered allocating enough time for reading each question through, rather than diving in, in a desperate attempt to get as much – possibly irrelevant – knowledge down as quickly as possible.
How to maintain focus
Maintaining focus throughout an exam, which at GSCE level can last over two hours, is a standard part of a good exam technique. In a large exam room containing possibly hundreds of pupils, distractions can often occur; anything from an individual feeling of being unwell to the general noise from the scraping of tables and chairs. The tutor will suggest strategies to enable a pupil to ignore these and maintain focus.
How to spot the curveball
Exam papers aren’t always straightforward. There are the ‘curveball’ questions that don’t read quite like the questions which have been answered in practice sessions, but essentially are asking for the same knowledge. With experience, a child will be able to locate the ‘demand’ words and will look at each question’s allocated marks, ensuring there are enough answers to match. The challenge of multiple-choice papers is often underestimated, with marks unnecessarily lost. Planning answers to longer questions and the themes of the ‘synoptic’ essay will also be covered during revision sessions with your private English, Science, or Maths tutor.
Proactive to the very end of the exam
Your tutor will encourage your child to remain proactive right up to the end of the exam and to read through his answers and improve them if they have finished early. This is a particularly challenging aspect of good exam technique which pays dividends.
Engage an Elite Tutors Sussex private tutor or GCSE/A-level Course
As a parent, you may feel unsure as to how best to help your child through this temporary, but intense phase. Remember that using the services of a private tutor makes for a three-way support system. Like you, your child’s tutor knows him or her personally, with all their strengths, weaknesses, and, above all, potential. A tutor, however, is free of the emotional pressure which comes with a parent’s investment in their children. A tutor is there to bring out the best academically in your child and will certainly try to do so.
Another superb option for support is making the most of courses on offer specifically designed for revision and exam technique. Elite Tutors Sussex has enlisted a number of experienced teachers and examiners this Easter to offer courses in Biology, History, English, Maths and Sociology as well as general exam technique and revision skills- something often left untaught in schools. There is even a course designed specifically for students with neuro diversities who often face the biggest challenges in high-stakes examinations.
Our GCSE and A-Level Easter Study Skills and Exam courses are available to book now. Places are limited so ensure you book in good time before the spaces go.
Written by Lindsey Tydeman
Tutor, Writer and Historian