How to help your child through their school exams

by Lauren Abbott

All parents want their children to achieve their full potential and performing well in exams is often one such way.

The desire to pass with flying colours means that as testing times approach, it's not only students who can get anxious.

Parents are often equally stressed about how well their offspring will perform.

School places are being allocated
School places are being allocated

But for those unsure as to how best support their children, teacher and author April Miller hopes she can lend a hand.

She has written How To Help Your Teenager Achieve Exam Success in a bid to guide parents through the exam minefield, looking at not only revision and motivation, but also at how a wide variety of other factors including food, exercise, thinking and emotions can affect exam success.

She explained: "Concerned parents should be involved, but that's not about pushing teenagers to become top of the class.

“It's about releasing your teenager's natural abilities, and freeing them from societal influences in order to achieve their full potential.”

A record number of pupils will get their chosen school
A record number of pupils will get their chosen school

In her book, the A-level teacher suggests parents should let their child decide when to study but insist that they do look at their diaries and books, encourage them to invite friends for study, provide snacks and drinks and talk with their teachers.

The book also discusses rewards such as money or gifts for results or more simple goals like offering to record a favourite television programme to watch after revising.

The issue of punishment, or withdrawing luxuries like access to social media or television, is also covered.

Practical tips such as helping students make revision cards, showing them how to colour code their work, providing suitable pens and stationary and finding them a quiet place to work are all listed as well.

But April Miller says the most effective tool for students is to be self-reflective - assessing what did and didn't go well and what can be done to improve next time.

Parents can best help their teenagers develop this skill, she says, by adopting it themselves, possibly at family mealtimes, by recapping the day and asking teenagers to recap theirs. "Teenagers never want to fail, they just lack the skills or mental aptitude to analyse their own behaviour," added Miller.

How To Help Teenagers Achieve Exam Success by April Miller is published by Bennion Kearny, priced £8.99. Available now

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