EXAM REVISION THE PARENTS' GUIDE TO - The Parents' Guide to Exam revision 2020 2021 - Ark ...

 
EXAM REVISION THE PARENTS' GUIDE TO - The Parents' Guide to Exam revision 2020 2021 - Ark ...
The Parents’ Guide to Exam revision
2020 - 2021                               2020 - 2021 ©

     THE PARENTS’
     GUIDE TO

      EXAM REVISION
                    GCSEs
EXAM REVISION THE PARENTS' GUIDE TO - The Parents' Guide to Exam revision 2020 2021 - Ark ...
The Parents’ Guide to Exam revision (GCSEs) 2020 - 2021 ©

CONTENTS

                                                                                              30
6                                                                                             Helping them
                                                                                              revise
Keeping them healthy                                                                          32 - Revision plans

                                                   20
                                                                                              Structuring revision and breaks
6 - Sleep

                                                                                                                                      48
Why it’s important and how to get enough
                                                                                              36 - Ways you can help                                          Click
                                                                                                                                                                    m
                                                                                                                                                              take e and I’
10 - Eating                                        Providing the right                        How to get involved in their revision                                 you      l
                                                                                                                                                                        there l

                                                   homelife                                                                           Exam nerves
                                                                                              42
Fuelling the body

14 - Hydration                                     22 - Routine                                                                       50 - Managing stress
Are they drinking enough water?                    How it frames positive habits              During exam time                        What you can do to help

16 - Caffeine                                      26 - Being active                          44 - Preparation                        56 - Further support
Boosting energy or draining reserves?              The key to mental and physical wellbeing   How to help them prepare                When to ask for help

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PARENTAL INVOLVEMENT IS KEY
TO STUDENT SUCCESS
                               Introduction
                               We want our children to do well in exams            most and which environments limit them
                               and effective revision plays a crucial role.        versus which help them flourish.
                               Whilst you can’t revise for your child, there
                               are lots of ways you can help them. This            Effective revision also requires developing
                               ranges from checking what they know                 and growing essential life skills, such as
                               and helping them remember things, to                good time management; the ability to
                               providing the right homelife so that they           deal with situations when things go wrong;
                               can be at their most alert, healthy and             and finding the right balance between
                               resilient.                                          work and play. These are areas where you
                                                                                   have lots of experience and can help them
                               Taking GCSEs is a big step in a teenager’s          develop systems that work best for them.
                               development. They are reaching
                               the middle to oldest children in the                This guide shows how to support them in
                               school, they’re working toward actual               making revision time as productive and
                               qualifications which will affect decisions          helpful as possible, helping them keep
                               they make later about their future and              a balanced lifestyle, and hints and tips
                               they are beginning to feel grown up. This           on providing a homelife that encourages
                               is an ideal time for you to help them form          success. We’ve mostly focused on long-
                               good habits that will set them up for the           term support, but there are also some
                               future, not only in terms of lifestyle (eating      pointers on how you can help just ahead
                               the right foods, being active, building             of examinations when the pressure is
                               resilience) but also in helping them                especially high.
                               discover which ways of learning suit them

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                                    teenage children, click here and join
                                           our online community.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                   Keeping them healthy
Sleep
Sleep is an essential element for                  Be firm about bedtime when they’re in           and other messaging services, not to              example by ignoring the rule if it doesn’t
optimum health, so make sure your child            their mid-teens. At this stage you can          mention their compulsion to play games            suit you). Establish rewards for appropri-
is getting enough rest. Teenagers need             insist they go to bed at the right time         and catch up with box sets late into the          ate phone use.
a lot of sleep given the huge changes              which should encourage them to stick to a       night.
taking place in their bodies – somewhere           similar routine when they reach their late                                                        Some wireless providers allow you to
between eight and ten hours each night.            teens when it’s not so easy for you to tell     To combat this you may want to minimise           set daily phone use limits, so you could
Tempting though it may be for them to              them what to do.                                the number of screens they have in the            add time limits for all apps, or different
revise into the small hours, they will be                                                          bedroom, encourage them to have at                time limits for different apps. You could
much better off putting work aside and             Mobiles, screens and sleep                      least 30 mins screen-free time before             try the app Our Pact, which enables you
settling down for an early night. Work                                                             settling down to sleep and get them to            to block or grant access to internet and
backwards! If they have to get up at 7.00          Getting enough sleep can be severely            use night screen settings in the evening to       apps on your child’s device at any time,
am, then they need to be asleep by 11.00           impaired by ready access to a 24/7 online       reduce glare (white light on bright screens       from anywhere. Netflix allows you to
pm – which probably means being in bed             community via their phones such as              prevent sleepiness). Phones should be set         modify user preferences, so you can block
much earlier.                                      Instagram, Snapchat, Tumblr, WhatsApp           to silent at bedtime so that sleep is not         programmes and box sets that you don’t
                                                                                                   interrupted by regular pinging with alerts        want your teen to watch or to restrict
                                                                                                   and messages. Encourage them to use               them watching at inappropriate times
 TRY TO GIVE YOUR CHILD AT                                                                         the “Do not disturb” feature if their phone       (removal won’t be instant but will filter
                                                                                                   has one, which will automatically silence         through). You could make some things
 LEAST 30 MINS SCREEN-FREE
                                                                                                   alerts at the same time each night.               available only via your profile so you’re
 TIME BEFORE BED                                                                                                                                     aware of what and when your child is
                                                                                                                                                     watching.
                                                                                                   Other ways to minimise phone
                                                                                                                                               Importantly, have conversations with
                                                                                                   time                                        your teen about using mobiles sensibly,
                                                                                                   Create rules for the whole family – such as and do this at times when neither of you
                                                                                                   no phones at the table during mealtimes, are tired nor emotional. This will avoid
                                                                                                   no phones before school, no phones          heated discussions or rows and you’re
                                                                                                   after 9:00 pm. If you do this, it’s impor-  much more likely to reach a compromise
                                                                                                   tant you’re consistent (don’t set a bad     that suits you both.

                                                                                                   Useful links               I’m
                                                                                                                          Click interact
                                                                                                                                m          iv
                                                                                                                          you t e and I’l e!
                                                                                                                                o thei      l
                                                                                                                                       r web take
                                                                                                                                            site
                                                                                                       Our Pact

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                                                                                                                                                                                         Keeping them healthy
                                                                                          A bedtime routine                                Avoid lie-ins
                                                                                          Creating a “bedtime” routine, such as            At the other end of the day, try to set a
                                                                                          switching the phone to silent, putting           routine so they get up at a similar time
                                                                                          it away 30 minutes before bed, taking a          each morning and, hard though it may
                                                                                          bath, having a hot drink and dimming             be, try to limit lie-ins at the weekend
                                                                                          the lights can all help calm the mind and        to just an extra hour or so in bed. Long
                                                                                          prepare it for sleep.                            lie-ins disrupt their sleeping rhythm,
                                                                                                                                           making it harder for them to go to sleep
                                                                                          Sticking to a similar routine every night        at an appropriate time on Sunday night
                                                                                          signals to the body that it is time for bed      and consequently, making it harder for
                                                                                          and helps it switch off so try to get your       them to wake up on time on Monday
                                                                                          child into the habit of doing the same           mornings. Where possible, bedtimes
                                                                                          things before bed and going to sleep at a        and get-up times should be similar from
                                                                                          similar time (especially on week nights).        one day to the next allowing the body to
                                                                                                                                           synch to a regular cycle. Make plans for
                                                                                          Encourage them to keep a notebook                weekend mornings so they have a reason
                                                                                          where any worries or important things to         to get up if there aren’t activities they
                                                                                          do the next day can be jotted down. This         can do through school or if they aren’t
                                                                                          prevents the mind turning over once the          inclined to organise anything themselves.
                                                                                          lights go out and fretting about forgetting
                                                                                          things thus preventing sleep.                    Walk your talk!
                                                                                          If they share a room, curtaining off their       Are you setting a good example? It might
                                                                                          sleeping area helps give them some               be harder for them to get into good sleep
                                                                                          personal space.                                  patterns if you are not following the
                                                                                                                                           advice you give them.

                                                                                          Useful links

                                                                                                                         Sleep
                                                                                                NHS
                                                                                                                        council
                                                                                              Live well
                                                                                                                          UK

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                                                                                                                                                                                                  Keeping them healthy
Eating
Food is fuel for the body, so making               Eating regularly                              Snacking                                         Cook together
sure they eat at regular intervals with                                                                                                           Whilst it may not be possible every
                                             It’s important that teenagers eat at regular        The temptation to eat sugary, highly
plenty of healthy ingredients is vital.                                                                                                           night, it’s great if you can include some
                                             intervals to avoid peaks and dips in energy         salted, unhealthy snacks to keep energy
Try to ensure they have a healthy            levels. Breakfast, lunch and dinner should          levels up is not only bad for overall            home-cooked meals (from scratch) regular-
breakfast before leaving the house           be punctuated with healthy snacks.                  health but can negatively impair their           ly throughout the week. Not only is this
(even if it is only cereal), provide a       Providing a packed lunch and snacks for             performance and ability to concentrate.          much healthier and cheaper than buying
packed lunch and a nutritious supper         them when they are on the go can help               Help them make the right choices when            ready-meals and take-aways, it’s one of
in the evening.                              ensure they are eating the right types of           they are in a hurry by providing them            the best lifestyle habits to teach your child
                                             food. If possible, sit down for a family meal       with healthy alternatives. If chocolate is a     which they’ll benefit from throughout their
                                             together at the end of each day (mobile and         must, swap milk chocolate or chocolate           adult life.
A balanced diet
                                             tablet free!). Not only will this start a fantas-   bars for dark chocolate. This doesn’t
As well as their “five a day” (about a third tic lifestyle habit for them to take through        mean they can’t have an occasional treat,        Cooking together provides a very good
of the overall diet), everyone should have to adulthood, it will also provide a break            but it’s better to avoid eating high sugar       opportunity to spend time together and
some starchy carbohydrate (another third), from being online and a chance to chat and            and salty foods too often.                       bond. It’s a non-pressurized space for them
and the remaining third split between        share one another’s experiences that day.                                                            to talk to you about things that may be
protein and milk/dairy with a small                                                                                                               troubling them without making it the central
amount of fat . Ensure vegetarians and                                                                                                            focus – you can catch up on good news too.
vegans are getting enough protein with                                                            KEEP THE HOUSE STOCKED
plenty of protein rich vegetables (such                                                           WITH PLENTY OF HEALTHY
as peas, sprouts, sweet corn, asparagus,
                                                                                                  SNACKS
broccoli and avocado) as well as nuts,
pulses and beans.

Good food choices to maximise concentra-
tion include green leafy vegetables, herbs,
oily fish and pulses so try to include these
as a regular part of their diet – it will be
good for the whole family too!

Useful links

 NHS - Eatwell                BBC
    Guide                   Good Food

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                                                                                                           Keeping them healthy
Growing up
As teenagers are getting older and more
independent, they will be preparing food
for themselves and it’s not possible for
you to watch what they are eating every                     Healthy snacks
meal time. However, where possible,                          shopping list:
provide food for them rather than money
which they might be tempted to spend
on unhealthy favourites. Remember, they                     •   Mixed nuts
are going to eat what you have available                    •   Raisins
in the house, so if your fridge, freezer and                •   yoghurt
cupboards are full of good options, that’s                  •   Fruit
what they’ll reach for when they’re hungry.                 •   Dried fruit
                                                            •   Popcorn
Fast food, sweets, crisps and other treats                  •   Rice cakes
are absolutely fine, so long as they are a                  •   Flapjacks
small part of an overall diet and not the                   •   Dark chocolate
staple foods. However, tired teenagers                      •   Carrot sticks
are often tempted by convenience and                        •   Cottage cheese
“quick fix” energy boosts so may be drawn                   •   Kale chips
towards unhealthy options despite your                      •   Hummus
best efforts to encourage them otherwise.                   •   Eggs
                                                            •   Smoothies
                                                            •   Olives
Walk your talk!                                             •   Peanut butter
The foods you have available in your house,                 •   Avocado
and what you eat will influence your child’s                •   Tuna
choices. Are you being a good role model?

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                                                                                                                                Keeping them healthy
Hydration                                                                                           KEEPING HYDRATED IMPROVES
                                                                                                    CONCENTRATION AND
                                                                                                    FOCUS
The teenage body is made up of around               Eight glasses a day
60% water. Not drinking enough water
                                                    Health experts recommend adults drink
reduces productivity, both mentally
                                                    at least two litres of water each day. This
and physically, and symptoms can                    equates to roughly eight 250ml glasses.
include tiredness, confusion, reduced
energy levels and the temptation to
snack when not actually hungry (thirst
is often mistaken for hunger).

Have water on hand at all times
The best way to make sure your child is
drinking enough is to ensure they have
water on hand at all times – at their desk,
in bottles in their bag when on the go, and
served alongside food. Plain water is ideal,
but to add interest, use natural ingredients
to give flavour – such as cucumber, lemon,
lime, orange, tangerine, mint or ginger.

Other drinks
Natural fruit juices are great, but can
be high in natural sugar, so why not
dilute them? Herbal teas or honey with
a dash of lemon offer hot, caffeine free
alternatives. Limit your child’s fizzy drink
                                                    Walk your talk!
intake – whether calorie controlled or              If your children never sees you drinking a
not, including energy drinks. They are all          glass of water they are less likely to think
unhealthy if drunk in large quantities.             of drinking themselves.

Useful links

                              Natural
       NHS
                             Hydration
     Live Well
                              Council

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                                                                                                                                                                                                     Keeping them healthy
Caffeine
Caffeine affects us in different ways,             Energy shots and drinks                           Food                                              Isotonic gels
and different people are more sensi-
                                                   Energy shots can be deceptive as they             Less obvious sources of caffeine are              Teens often love isotonic gels, some
tive to it than others. On average,
                                                   are tiny in quantity but often packed with        foods. Chocolate cake with chocolate              of which contain as much as 75 mg
adults shouldn’t consume more than                 caffeine – for example a 60 ml shot can                                                             of caffeine per pack. These are fine
                                                                                                     frosting or cup cakes with chocolate
400mg of caffeine a day and adoles-                contain around 200mg of caffeine. Likewise,                                                         consumed in moderation but watch out
                                                                                                     topping are likely to be very high in
cents should have much less.                       many energy drinks don’t necessarily have         caffeine (as well as sugar) so this is not        that your child isn’t having too many or
                                                   huge percentages of caffeine, but they are        ideal to eat as a dessert after dinner.           substituting an energy rush when they
Look out for caffeine                              served in large volumes (half litre bottles) so   Likewise coffee flavoured products can            are thirsty and should be drinking water.
consumption                                        the amount of caffeine your child is drink-       also contain lots of caffeine, so look
                                                   ing is a lot (160mg of caffeine in a can of       out for ice-creams, frozen yogurts and            Melts
Caffeine is present in coffee, tea, energy         Monster), whereas a small glass of the same       milkshakes.
drinks and chocolate so keep an eye on             product would be fine.                                                                              Melt-in-the-mouth tablets which are
how much of these your child consumes.                                                                                                                 available in various flavours, each
Energy shots are often very high in                Most supermarkets and high street stores have                                                       containing about 80mg of caffeine.
caffeine and a firm favourite with teens.          banned sales of energy drinks to under 16s.
Drinks with high caffeine (more than
150mg per litre) need to show this on                                                                BE AWARE OF THE AMOUNT
the label, although it is not always clear         Coffee                                            OF CAFFEINE CONTAINED IN
– and it doesn’t apply to drinks bought            If your child regularly drinks one or two         ENERGY DRINKS
in coffee shops. Lots of products high             cups of coffee each day, it’s absolutely fine
in caffeine are available in health food           to continue this, even during exam time,
shops which can give the impression                as their body will be used to it. What’s
that they’re good for wellbeing but, like          not good is introducing changes, so they
many things, can be harmful if taken in            shouldn’t start drinking a cup of coffee or
large quantities.                                  two during revision periods to help keep
                                                   them alert if this is not something they do
                                                   regularly. It’s more likely to make them
                                                   jittery, hyper and unable to concentrate.

Useful links

     British
    Nutrition
   Foundation

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Keeping them healthy
  Effects of caffeine
  Too much caffeine can result in loss of
                                                    Keep an eye on their caffeine intake and,
                                                    if possible, get them to avoid it complete-    Caffeine indicator
                                                    ly from lunchtime as a year-round rule.                                                                                                                         330 mg
  sleep, loss of energy, low mood and low                                                          Amount of caffeine per cup
  concentration – the opposite of what’s
  needed to revise well. Caffeine is also           Walk your talk!
  long lasting, so drinking caffeine-high           If you’re reaching for a strong coffee
  drinks in the afternoon can still impact          several times daily to try and keep your
  on your child’s ability to sleep that night.      energy levels up, you’re impacting your
  It’s an absolute no to drinking coffee (or        own ability to sleep at nights, as well as
  other caffeine fuelled drinks) late in the        sending the wrong message on how to
  evening to try and overcome tiredness             manage tiredness.
  and revise into the night.
                                                                                                                                                                                            215 mg

 CAFFEINE IN MODERATION IS OK
 BUT TRY NOT TO LET YOUR CHILD
                                                                                                                                                                       135 mg
 DRINK COFFEE LATE IN THE
 EVENING

                                                                                                                                                     95 mg
                                                                                                                                          88 mg

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Grande Starbucks coffee
                                                                                                                              55 mg

                                                                                                                                                                                             Energy shot (5-hour)
                                                                                                                  40 mg

                                                                                                                                                      Instant coffee
                                                                                                      20 mg

                                                                                                                                                                       Filter coffee
                                                                                                                  Diet Coke

                                                                                                                              Black tea

                                                                                                                                          Red Bull
                                                                                                      Green
                                                                                                      tea

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                                                                                                                               Providing the right homelife
Environment                                                                                          WORK WITH YOUR CHILD TO
                                                                                                     FIND A CALM SPACE TO
                                                                                                     REVISE
Chatting                                           Finding the right space
Teenagers have a reputation for being              Help them find a calm space to revise.
non-communicative, so when they do chat            Things to consider are noise levels, light-
to you, don’t be tempted to quiz them on           ing, ability to store their papers tidily, not
how they’re getting on with revision and           being disturbed by other family members.
studying every time! Of course you will            Different people have different needs, for
want to show interest, but sometimes a             some, background music is helpful to study-
complete break is a good thing and there           ing, for others it’s a distraction. Different
are lots of other things you will want to talk     locations can help some children, so rather
to them about.                                     than always working in their bedroom, they
                                                   might like to use the dining room, or living
Bedroom                                            area from time to time. Give your child
                                                   space to work out what works best for them
A calm environment can encourage sleep,            (which may not be what works best for you).
so make sure their room is a comfortable
temperature; their linen is fresh, clean and
cosy; they have blackout blinds/curtains to
                                                   Other options
reduce light in summertime (or eyeshades           If there’s not a good place to revise at
if that’s not possible) and that it is quiet.      home, maybe they could spend time in
Of course, you can’t be responsible for            a local library or a local café with wifi, to
whether or not they keep their room tidy           help inspire them by providing a different
(although you can try to encourage it)             environment (and where adults working
but it is proven that a calm, uncluttered          can act as role models). Varying the
environment helps relaxation.                      revision space can be helpful in creating
                                                   new energy to take in things differently.

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                                                                                                              Providing the right homelife
Routine
Routine is important, not only                     Keeping routines
when it comes to creating a revision
                                                   It’s also much more difficult to “duck out” of
timetable, but also for homelife
                                                   activities when they are part of the regular
in general. People respond well                    routine rather than occasional exceptions.
to routine and by creating regular                 For example, if the family always spends
activities at regular times, you are               half-an-hour together to eat and chat at
creating your own family rituals and               around 6.00 pm, it’s much more difficult to
traditions.                                        take food upstairs while revising or snack in
                                                   another room than it would be if the regular
Home timetable                                     routine were to eat in different places at
                                                   different times. As far as you can, don’t
Try to set breakfast, dinner, family time,         encourage your teen to take mealtimes in
family activities at similar times to create       their room (or in front of the television).
stability and familiarity. It can be difficult
when everyone has their own schedule
but it is worth having some anchor points          Improve time management
throughout the week when you all get               Creating regular activities at regular times
together, such as breakfast at 7.15 am on          of the day will help your child take breaks
weekdays or at 9.00 am at weekends, or             from revising as well as improve their
family dinners on Monday, Wednesday                time-management skills by having to
and Friday at 6.30 pm.                             organise revision around these times.

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                                                                                                                                                                                               Providing the right homelife
Taking a break
It’s vital for effective study that your           and assimilate information, it’s an impor-
child takes regular breaks (both long              tant way to find an appropriate work-play
and short) – without feeling guilty!               balance to ensure a productive and happy
                                                   life in the long term. Try and help them
Short breaks                                       ensure their breaks include a variety of                                         Ideas for revision breaks
                                                   different activities (not just staying in their
When helping them create a revision                room watching a Netflix series).                                             Encourage your child to:
timetable, ensure they factor in five or ten
minute breaks within 30 or 60 minute study                                                                                      • Get creative, such as painting, puzzling,
                                                   Taking a day off                                                               sewing or drawing
sessions. Short bursts of studying produce
much better results than long stretches.           From time to time, we all need to take
Even if they have to study all day or all          a break. When things get tough, it can                                       • Get active, such as going to the gym or
evening, they should not do more than an           sometimes be helpful to step away from                                         playing sport
hour at a time without having a short rest.        the problem and revisit it with a calm mind
                                                   and renewed outlook rather than struggle                                     • Get some fresh air by taking a walk or
                                                   on. If, on occasion, your child doesn’t stick                                  sitting outside
Long breaks                                        rigidly to their revision timetable, don’t
It’s important for them to take time out and       worry, they are probably doing enough to                                     • Go screen free and read a book or
do things they enjoy – such as watching a          stay on track. If you don’t think they are,                                    magazine
film, being part of their regular sports team,     and the school agrees, it might be time
attending a concert, spending time with            to work out different rules to help them                                     • Interact with others by chatting to a friend
friends and family. Not only does this give        refocus.                                                                       or family member
the brain a chance to switch off, refocus
                                                                                                                                • Relax by taking a bath, watching an
                                                                                                                                  episode of their favourite TV series or
                                                                                                                                  listening to some music

                                                                                                                                • Refuel by preparing a healthy snack and
                                                                                                                                  eating it away from their desk or computer

                                                                                                                                • Recharge by having a power nap

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                                                                                                                                 Providing the right homelife
                                                                                                      IT’S VITAL FOR EFFECTIVE
Being active                                                                                          STUDY THAT YOUR CHILD
                                                                                                      TAKES REGULAR BREAKS
Being active is a key component in healthy
living – both for mental and physical              Of course, it’s great if you can do some
health. If you can arrange some outdoor            activities together, but if they are exercising
activities with your child this will not only      alone or with friends, this can also increase
give you some quality time together, it            the chances of them having life-long
will ensure they are getting out in nature,        healthy habits as well as releasing energy
taking a break from being online and               and making themselves physically tired
getting some exercise. Active hobbies              (instead of just mentally tired, which can
release “happy” hormones that are                  make it hard to sleep).
fantastic for regulating mood, promoting
self-confidence and reducing stress.               If your child is not keen on being active (for
                                                   example they don’t like swimming, playing
Doing active things as a family not only           sports, running or dancing) encourage
helps bond but also creates an expecta-            them to take regular walks to boost
tion that life should include “doing” (being       circulation, stretch their muscles and be
physical in some way) as well as “resting”         outdoors. It is very important that they
(such as watching TV or going to the               spend some time being active outside
cinema). Good examples include going               every week.
for a walk together, joining parkrun on
Saturday mornings, taking a day out to a           *Some activities and attractions are likely
castle or local attraction, visiting a national    to close, given the current circumstances.
park or city farm. If the weather’s poor,          Listen carefully to the guidance given by
there’s ten-pin bowling, table tennis, visit-      the government and limit all social inter-
ing a museum or stately home, ice-skating,         action if you or your child display flu-like
swimming or visiting an aquarium*                  symptoms.

Useful links

   Health for                   NHS
   teens UK                   Live Well

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                                                                                                                                                                                                         Helping them revise
Planning
                                                                                                    Factor in relaxation time                         Be strict yet flexible
Sit with your child and help them                  Goal setting
work out a revision timetable,                                                                      You can also make sure they are taking            Part of the value in creating a revision
                                                   As well as long term goals (i.e. passing their   longer breaks by including activities that        timetable is to ensure all topics are covered
planning months ahead of exam
                                                   GCSEs), help them break down their different     are not related to revision so that they can      in the lead up to exams, rather than your
time - not just weeks before! Smaller,                                                              still enjoy time with friends and family and      child getting side-tracked by one subject
regular revisions sessions are                     revision goals, so they will get a sense of
                                                   achievement after every revision session.        their hobbies. Even in the lead up to exam        they either find very difficult or prefer doing.
usually much more productive than                                                                   time, taking time out is crucial. It’s impor-     Sticking to the timetable is important and
                                                   Feeling that they have done what they set out
cramming (or leaving everything                                                                     tant that as well as outlining when they          promotes self-discipline. However, sometimes
                                                   to do will positively reinforce and encourage
to the last minute, which increases                them to start their next revision session        will be revising, they can also see that they     things take longer than expected, so don’t
stress) so starting revision well in               feeling capable rather than over-whelmed.        have dedicated time for fun things too.           get cross if your child deviates from the plan.
advance is a good strategy. Also,                                                                                                                     A good idea is to factor in some unassigned
it leaves time to adjust and adapt                                                                                                                    revision time to make flexibility easier.
if what seemed like a good idea in                 Keep subject focus
theory doesn’t prove as helpful in                 They might be taking lots of subjects at         A REVISION TIMETABLE WILL
practice.                                          GCSE but try to stick to just two or three       HELP STRUCTURE REVISION
                                                   subjects on weeknights to help them
If your child is well organised and wants          stay focused and block the sessions into         AND KEEP YOUR CHILD
to create their own timetable without              chunks with short breaks in between. For         FOCUSED
your help, fantastic! If possible, get them        example, rather than suggest revision
to share it with you and talk through why          from 7 pm until 9 pm, have revision in 25
they’ve structured it the way they have so         minute stretches with five minute breaks
you can help tweak it early on if you spot         in between. This doesn’t mean they can’t
areas that could be improved.                      spend 50 minutes on one subject, it just
                                                   allows them to rest their eyes and change

Useful links
                     Down
                           load
                                  me!
    Revision
    template

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The Parents’ Guide to Exam revision (GCSEs) 2020 - 2021 ©

                                                                                                                                                                                              Helping them revise
                                                     Revision timetable - Easter holiday
                                                      Monday            Tuesday         Wednesday          Thursday            Friday         Saturday Sunday

                                          8am         Maths            Geography        Science                              Art              English
                                                      Fractions and    Revise case      exam paper 1 –     Family            Coursework       Make notes on
                                                      algebra          studies          timed              breakfast                          main text
                                          9am         Geography                         conditions (2hr)                     French
                                                      Volcanos         Drums lesson                                          Vocab revision   Drums lesson
                                                                                                                             Maths
                                                                                                                             Simultaneous
                                                                                                                             equations
                                         10am         History                                              Science           Maths
                                                      Essay question                                       revision day      Simultaneous
                                                      French                                               with friends      equations
                                                      Vocab revision
                                         11am         Maths            History                                               Geography        English
                                                      Algebra          Read through     Time off                             Revise coastal   Make notes on
                                                                       Unit 2 notes                                          defences         main text
                                        LUNCH               LUNCH         LUNCH             LUNCH                               LUNCH            LUNCH

                                          2pm         Science          Art                                                   Geography        Science
                                                      Physics          Coursework       Football and                         exam paper 1 –   Biology
                                                                                        swim lesson                          timed
                                                      Art                                                                    conditions       History
                                                      Coursework                                                             (90 mins)        Key dates

                                          3pm         Science          Art                                                                    Unplanned
                                                      Chemistry        Coursework                                                             revision
                                          4pm         Unplanned        English
                                                      revision         Complete an                                           Dinner and       Evening off
                                                                       essay question                                        cinema
                                         5pm          Gym              Time off                            Gym
                                        6pm           Time off         Time off                            Time off
                                       Evening        English          Maths                               History
                                                      Look through     formulas                            Make flash
                                                      unit 1 notes     French                              cards on unit 2
                                                                       Vocab revision

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                                                                                                                                                                                               Helping them revise
Understanding their revision style
Every child works differently and what             to make learning easier for them. If you
works for one child may not work at all            haven’t already, identify what learning           Auditory
for another. However, in broad terms,              style works best for your child and help
                                                                                                     Auditory learners prefer to listen and speak, so they should
there are four different learning styles           them construct revision around this
                                                                                                     work around these themes:
and, whilst using a combination of these           learning style to make study sessions
styles can be effective (and indeed, some          more productive and less boring. If they          1. listening to pod casts and audio books where the infor-
styles overlap), some children (and as             have a preference for digesting infor-               mation they should learn is spoken aloud;
adults later) will exhibit a preference for        mation in a specific way, it will be more         2. joining study groups so they can listen and talk over
one style over another – it just seems             interesting and stimulating for them.                ideas with others;
                                                                                                     3. listen to speakers/teachers/lecturers whether in live
                                                                                                        sessions or online;
                                                                                                     4. engage with you by talking, discussing and explaining
  Visual Learners                                                                                       what they know;
  Visual learners prefer colour and pictures, so they should work                                    5. using sound and music to help them learn;
  around these themes:                                                                               6. teaching (or pretending to teach) others to demonstrate
                                                                                                        knowledge;
  1. make their notes colourful, with different colour pens,
     paper, highlighters and post-its;                                                               7. speaking answers to past papers aloud.
  2. use images and pictures instead of words;
  3. use symbols to represent key messages;
  4. use maps and charts where possible;
  5. adapt text to flow charts;                                                                      Tactile Learners
  6. express change and ideas in diagrams;
  7. use doodles when note taking.                                                                   For others, their preferred method of learning is through
                                                                                                     action or movement. This is good for practical areas, such
                                                                                                     as experiments in science and drama, but can require a little
                                                                                                     extra imagination to help them translate theory to practice.
  Reading writing                                                                                    1. Where possible, do the activity themselves (cooking,
                                                                                                        carpentry, design);
  For some, the traditional method of reading and writing still                                      2. Use real life examples to help them understand abstract
  works best, so they should work around these themes:                                                  concepts;
  1.   Take lots of notes (both during lessons and during study);                                    3. Take frequent breaks to enable them to be active;
  2.   Re-write notes in different styles;                                                           4. Use art and drawing to help memorize ideas and themes;
  3.   Do lots of practice papers;                                                                   5. Study in groups and act out the material;
  4.   Use post-it notes to emphasis key points;                                                     6. Make study sheets and flash cards to help memorize
  5.   Use highlighters to make important items stand out;                                              information;
  6.   Read books, online articles, magazines and their own                                          7. Watching videos of people doing the activity (when they
       notes.                                                                                           can’t do it themselves).

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                                                                                                                                                                                                           Helping them revise
Ways you can help

Practise and repetition                                                                                  Timed exams / questions
If you have the time and it’s something                                                                  Closer to the exams your child will benefit-
they’d find helpful, give them the chance                                                                from completing a number of past exam
to recite, repeat and practise what they’ve                                                              questions. Help them prepare by creating
learnt with you. Even if you don’t know                                                                  an environment that resembles the
the answers, the opportunity to say out                                                                  conditions they are likely to experience in
loud what’s in their mind can help clarify                                                               the exam hall - minimise external sounds,
whether they have grasped the concepts                                                                   setup a clear desk and if you can, locate
or whether they are still hazy. This style of                                                            a single clock to encourage your child to
revising might not appeal to those who                                                                   time manage under test conditions. Once
prefer reading/writing, but it’s especially                                                              the allocated time has come to an end, get
useful to aural and tactile learners.                                                                    your child to stop writing as they may be
                                                                                                         tempted to continue. If they did not finish
Other ways you might be able to help is                                                                  get them to reflect on the reasons why. Do
using quizzes, mind maps, white boards,                                                                  they need to do more revision, improve
multiple choice or sound bites to see what                                                               their time management or work on their
they’ve learned.                                                                                         exam technique?

                                                    Host a revision day *                                                                                    Act as the student
                                                    Revising together can also help, so encourage                                                            Another effective revision technique is to
                                                    them to revise with friends if it’s something                                                            encourage your child to speak through
                                                    they enjoy. This gives them a chance to test                                                             their subject knowledge. By taking on
                                                    one another, swap revision notes and revise                                                              the role of the student, ask your child to
                                                    in different atmospheres. But don’t compare!                                                             explain a topic from one of their subjects.
                                                    Everyone is different, so whilst it’s fine to hear                                                       Listen carefully and don’t be afraid to ask
                                                    how other children are revising (either directly                                                         them a question if you do not fully under-
                                                    from them or via their parents) it doesn’t mean                                                          stand what they are saying. Studies have
                                                    they are doing better or worse than your child.                                                          shown that one of the best ways to revise
                                                                                                                                                             is by teaching others.
                                                    *This may not be appropriate given the current
                                                    circumstances. Listen carefully to the guidance
                                                    given by the government and limit all social
                                                    interaction if you or your child display flu-like
                                                    symptoms.

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                                                                                                            Helping them revise
More ways you can help
Memory                                      and examinations are connected to their
                                            goals and ambitions and rewarding them
It might seem that with the internet at     when they work hard with treats such as
our fingertips, there’s no longer a need to making their favourite dinner or watching
commit everything to memory. However, a film together.
examinations are a test of understanding
and your child will need to have some
facts in mind to express their knowledge. Prepare yourself
                                            If your child’s forgetful in giving you their
Research has shown how much informa- examination timetable, arrange to get one
tion we retain through different ways of    for yourself from their school or college:
receiving it. Most people only remember that way there are no nasty surprises!
10% of what they have read for the          Put their exams and important dates in
first time, whereas they will remember      your own calendar or diary so that you
three times more if they have watched a don’t forget what’s coming up.
demonstration.
                                            Don’t make arrangements for big days out
It’s a good idea for your child to use      or several days away from home during
lots of different ways of reviewing the     intense revision time (i.e. just before
same information which will help them       exams). It can be both distracting and
remember more over longer periods           unsettling to have a packed agenda when
of time. Trying different ways will also    their focus should be on revision. This
help them discover which work best for      does not include shorter family outings
them. Use this in combination with their (for a couple of hours or half a day) to
preferred learning style (page 32) for      make sure they take rest time.
maximum effect.
                                                   Years 10 and 11
Motivating them to revise
                                                   Make sure you’re familiar with the rhythm
Don’t be tempted to use bribery (such as           of the GCSE years (especially Year 11 when
financial incentives or exemption from             they’ll be sitting their GCSEs) so you are
chores) to get them to revise. They are            aware of challenging periods. That way
doing this for them, not you! However,             you can avoid making arrangements that
encourage them to be motivated by                  might put too many demands on their
helping them visualise how their revision          time.

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                                                                                                                   Helping them revise
Key milestones
                                                                    Starting Year 11
                                                                   Your child may or may not have
                                                                   exams as they begin their Yr 11
 SEPTEMBER 2020                                                     journey; however it is essential
                                                                   that they start the year as they
                                 Post 16 options                   mean to go on. Help them
                                 Schools and teachers will         prepare a clear space for study.
                                 pay particular attention to
                                 your child’s approach to work
                                 and study as the academic
      OCTOBER                    year progresses. A poor work
                                 ethic and little home revision
                                 could negatively impact your
                                 child’s post 16 options, such
                                 as the ability to progress with    Christmas holidays
                                 certain qualifications.
                                                                   Most schools will schedule
                                                                   mock examinations either just
                                                                   before or just after the Christmas
    DECEMBER                                                       holidays. Encourage your child
                                                                   to approach the holiday period
                                                                   maturely with a healthy balance
                               Mock examinations                   between revision and socialising.
                               Try to approach these with
                               an attitude similar to those of
                               the official exams. Mimicking
  JANUARY 2021                 exam conditions will help
                               reduce nerves when the final
                               exams begin.                         Easter holidays
                                                                   The emphasis here is
                                                                   independent learning. Schools
                                                                   are closed for 2-3 weeks and
                                                                   your child will have a significant
          APRIL                                                    period of time to revise and
                                                                   study. If your child hasn’t created
                              May half-term / examinations         a revision timetable yet, now is
                              Your child may or may not            the time. This will help focus and
                              have completed some of their         structure their revision efforts.
          MAY
                              exams already. May half-term is
                              a crucial time for consolidation
                              and reflecting on their past
                              exam performance.

                                                                    Examinations
          JUNE                                                      This should not be a time for
                                                                    cramming.

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                                                                                                                                During exam time
During exam time                                                                                   EXAM TIME CAN BE STRESSFUL
                                                                                                   SO HELP YOUR CHILD
                                                                                                   FEEL IN CONTROL
thinking patterns by taking a break in
between.
Feeling in control will be very impor-             Eating
tant to their mindset when entering                Ideally your child should eat a healthy
an exam. Being late, rushed and                    breakfast ahead of morning exams. If they
forgetting things they need to bring               are not keen on eating first thing in the
with them has the opposite effect.                 morning, then make something that they
Spend time with them the evening                   can take with them and eat once they’ve
before the exam going through all the              arrived at school – ensuring they have
things they will need and making sure              left enough time to eat it before the exam
they have packed them in their bag                 starts! Entering a long exam on an empty
(pens, pencils, ruler paper, dictionary,           stomach won’t help them perform well.
calculator etc).
                                               Don’t let them have too many stimulants
                                               before an exam. They might be tempted
Help them prepare                              to fuel themselves with sugar (sweets),
Have all the clothes they plan to wear ready caffeine (an energy shot) or taurine (Red
(so there is no last minute searching!) and    Bull), whilst this could produce a temporary
help them consider what they need. It may high it’s possible they might be too hyped
be summertime and very warm outside,           to focus calmly at the beginning of the
but if there is air-conditioning in the exami- exam, and then find their energy levels
nation centre, they’ll want something warm dipping significantly half way through,
to wear over summer uniforms.                  making them sleepy. It’s fine for them to
                                               have a coffee if that’s what they usually do –
Prepare lunch, snacks and a clear water        but not if they don’t.
bottle for them to take with them – as well
as making sure they have set their alarm       If they are doing two exams in one day,
leaving enough time for them to have a         they’ll need something to revitalise them at
healthy breakfast and wake up fully before lunchtime and a water bottle they can refill
heading to the exam.                           to ensure they’re drinking enough. If mints
                                               and gum are permitted in the examination
                                               centre, it might help concentration.

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                                                                                                                                                                                             During exam time
Drinking                                           that the journey will be traffic or accident
                                                   free, even if it’s a route you take on a
It’s great for them to be fully hydrated           regular basis, allow extra time. Your child                                           CHECKLIST:
before an exam, but if they have too               will want to familiarise themselves with
many fluids they may frequently need the           their surroundings, may wish to use the                            Avoid any last-minute stress on the morning of the
bathroom, so strike a balance!                     rest room, perhaps have a snack before                             exam by preparing the night before:
                                                   the exam (food is not usually allowed).
Getting there                                      Once an exam has started, most centres                              Double-check the date, time and location of
Whether they are travelling alone or you’re        won’t allow late entrants because it unfair-                         their exam
taking them, allow plenty of time in case          ly disturbs other students and, no matter
                                                   how earnest, exceptions will not be made.
there are delays on the way. Don’t assume                                                                              Have they prepared what they’ll need for their
                                                                                                                        exam, including special equipment such as a
                                                                                                                        calculator, dictionary … etc

 REDUCE MORNING STRESS BY                                                                                              They will need a watch (no smart watches) to
                                                                                                                        help them keep to time during the exam
 PLANNING AHEAD
                                                                                                                       Make sure they get their clothes ready to avoid
                                                                                                                        any morning rush

                                                                                                                       Make sure your house is fully stocked for a
                                                                                                                        healthy breakfast

                                                                                                                       Make sure they’ve packed a clear water bottle -
                                                                                                                        hydration is important!

                                                                                                                       Try to encourage them to have an early night.
                                                                                                                        It’s OK for them to do some light revision the
                                                                                                                        night before, but they should not be cramming
                                                                                                                        late into the night

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                                                                                                                                During exam time
Supporting your child                                                                                 DURING EXAM TIME FOCUS
                                                                                                      ON THE POSITIVES RATHER
                                                                                                      THAN THE AREAS THEY
Be positive                                        Cramming                                           HAVE STRUGGLED WITH
Be positive and reassure them about what           The night before or morning of the exam
they have achieved to help boost their confi-      is not the right time to start trying to learn
dence before going to an exam. Don’t add           new information, so as far as you can,
to their stress by telling them they haven’t       help them to avoid this type of panicked
done enough (even if that’s what you think!)       learning. It’s fine for them to go over notes
and remind them that failing the exam is not       they’ve already made and reviewed sever-
the end of the world. They can always retake       al times already but it’s better to avoid
it or choose to do something else.                 trying to learn something new.

Be interested                                      Household chores
Give your child an opportunity to chat with        Give your children a break from household
you after each exam to talk through how            chores during exam time. They are under
they felt it went, if that’s what they want to     enough pressure, so let them off the extra
do. Focus on the positives where you can           work until exams are over.
– rather than the areas they struggled with.
Remember, once an exam is over they can’t          Talk about exam nerves
change their answers, so focus on what’s
coming up and can be positively influenced. Exams make some people more nervous
                                            than others. If they are nervous, reassure
                                            them that it’s completely natural to feel
General health                              anxious about taking exams and give them
Getting enough sleep, eating well, drinking space to explain to you how they are feeling
plenty of water, being active, taking time  and whether the nerves are manifesting in
out are all essential for performing well   physical or mental symptoms. Don’t make
during exams, so pay special attention to   them feel anxious about feeling anxious!
these areas and try to help your child do
as many of the right things as possible.    If you are concerned about their levels
                                            of anxiety, see more detail in Chapter 5,
                                            Exam Anxiety.
Useful links

    Mumsnet

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                                                                                                                                                                                                     Exam anxiety
Exam anxiety
It’s perfectly natural for your child to           Prolonged periods or bouts of intense anxie-    Signs of anxiety and stress                      • Talking over and over the same
be worried about taking exams and                  ty may have a negative impact, but there                                                           concern and being unable to either
                                                   are lots of ways you can help them manage       It’s good to be aware of the signs of              stop thinking about it or to find relief;
how they will perform – you might
                                                   this anxiety and use routines to help keep      anxiety and stress so you can watch out
even be a little worried too!                                                                      for them. A change in behaviour for a            • Physical symptoms (sweaty palms,
                                                   them calm. If you haven’t introduced them                                                          shaking, fast heartbeat, aching
                                                   to some of these techniques already, we’ve      day or two might be nothing to worry
In small doses, anxiety can be a good                                                              about, but if you notice a regular change,         muscles);
thing: helping your child to focus, get            included some suggestions.
                                                                                                   then it’s usually a sign that something is       • Restlessness and being unable to stay
motivated to study and even recall                                                                 wrong. Some of the more common signs               still;
                                                   However, in some cases there can be times
answers they were unaware they’d                                                                   of anxiety include:
                                                   when anxiety reaches exceptional levels                                                          • Inability to concentrate (such as
learnt.                                            and professional support is required. How       • Losing interest in things they’ve previ-         taking in what’s happening in a TV
                                                   can you tell the difference?                      ously enjoyed;                                   programme);
                                                                                                   • Behaving in the opposite way to                • Panic attacks;
 IT’S GOOD TO BE AWARE OF                                                                            usual – quiet children can become
                                                                                                                                                    • Not sleeping.
 THE SIGNS OF ANXIETY SO YOU                                                                         very chatty, chatty children can get
                                                                                                     withdrawn;
 CAN WATCH OUT FOR THEM                                                                                                                             Remember to keep perspective. If they
                                                                                                   • Being grumpy and irritable;                    have had several late nights, they are
                                                                                                   • Lots of headaches and digestive                likely to be tired and this increases
                                                                                                     problems (stomach aches, diarrhoea,            irritability. If they’ve been exercising, they
                                                                                                     constipation, vomiting etc);                   might have aching muscles. If they’ve just
                                                                                                                                                    run to meet you, they’ll have a fast heart
                                                                                                   • Worrying all the time, this can show           rate. Individual or a short-term combina-
                                                                                                     itself in only picturing negative              tion of the above symptoms are normal.
                                                                                                     outcomes (what if I fail, I’m going to
                                                                                                     fail, I can’t do this);

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                                                                                                                                                                                                    Exam anxiety
How to help
If you notice your child is suffering,             Physical activities – It doesn’t                 Talking – it may not be to you! A                Avoiding stimulants – bright lights,
it’s time to help them. That doesn’t               matter what activity - dancing, football,        sibling, grandparent, family friend or           loud music, caffeine, sugar, alcohol, too
always mean you stepping in (that                  swimming, walking – so long as it’s              friend at school or perhaps a charity            much excitement (a thrilling computer
could add to the anxiety) although it’s            something they enjoy, gets their endor-          chatline. Expressing worries out loud can        game, exciting movie) can all promote
good to let them know you’ve noticed               phins flowing and requires focus so the          sometimes make them feel less signifi-           adrenaline production and increase
something’s wrong and give them a                  mind is concentrating on something differ-       cant than when they’re playing on loop in        feelings of anxiety, so these are best
chance to talk to you if they want to.             ent. Team games are great, as connectivity       the mind. Talking aloud also encourages          avoided.
Avoid broaching the subject in front               and communications with others is restor-        finding their own solutions – prompts
of others, this could make them feel               ative.                                           such as ‘what would need to happen               Reducing lighting (have dimmable lights
                                                                                                    to make you feel better’, can help them          or table lamps in the bedroom) also
embarrassed or inadequate and make
                                                   Music – Music has an amazing ability to          reframe to seeking solutions rather than         helps to increase feelings of calm and can
them feel worse (they might think                  transport you to a different time and place.     dwelling on troubles.                            help prepare for sleep.
they are doing a job good of hiding it).           Anything that evokes positive memories
Don’t forget, the aim isn’t to eliminate           and experiences is a good thing. To reduce
anxiety but to teach them how to                   anxiety, it’s better to listen to relaxing and
manage it.                                         calming music rather than something that
                                                   stimulates.
There are two ways to help. Encourage                                                               EXPRESSING WORRIES OUT
them to take part in an activity that will                                                          LOUD CAN SOMETIMES MAKE
provide a distraction so they stop thinking                                                         THEM FEEL LESS SIGNIFICANT
about whatever is making them anxious.
Giving the brain some time out from
worrying can help obtain a better perspec-
tive later.

Useful links

   Anxiety UK                 Childline

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                                                                                                                                                                                                      Exam anxiety
The second way to help is to provide an            Mindfulness with meditation, breathing           Practising yoga regularly has been                  Herbs and smells – For centuries we’ve
opportunity for them to learn some proven          techniques, visualisation or yoga. Anxiety       proven to improve the heart rate as well            used herbs and smells to invoke different
techniques which help reduce anxiety. It’s         can induce rapid, shallow breathing which        as physical strength. Meditation trans-             atmospheres. Essential oils can be burnt
a really good idea for your child to practise      encourages the heart to beat faster to           ports the mind to a completely different            in diffusers, added to baths, placed on
some of these methods when they’re not             try and compensate for lack of oxygen.           place and experience. There are many                candles, mixed with water as a spritz or
anxious, so they can familiarise themselves        Learning slow breathing and how to take          different types of meditation including             poured on a tissue (great for on the go and
with the approaches and get comfortable            deep breaths has an immediate physical           auditory (describing experiences) and               to pop in a pocket) and are inexpensive
with the experience and how it makes               effect and is particularly useful in prevent-    visual (looking at something). These                to buy. Some useful staples are: lemon
them feel. Then, should anxiety strike, it’s       ing anxiety escalating. Meditation, visual-      activities can be done in short or long             (promotes concentration and calming);
something they’re relaxed about doing.             isation and yoga all encourage positive          bursts and alone or in groups, which                lavender (reduces stress and can help
Regularly practising relaxation techniques         breathing techniques.                            makes them ideal to put into practise               sleep), jasmine (uplifting and calming),
helps keep anxiety at bay too. Some good                                                            when on the go or needing a ready tool              peppermint (invigorating so helps to
choices are:                                       Apps like Headspace can be loaded on the         when nerves strike.                                 clear the mind) and rosemary (acts as a
                                                   phone so your child readily has help to                                                              pick-me-up).
                                                   hand in any place at any time.
 PRACTISING RELAXATION                                                                                                                                  Herbal teas are a great caffeine free hot
                                                                                                                                                        drink and, as well as benefiting from the
 TECHNIQUES CAN HELP                                                                                                                                    smell, the herbs work within the system
 REDUCE FEELINGS OF                                                                                                                                     too. Try camomile, peppermint, lavender
 ANXIETY                                                                                                                                                or lemon balm.

                                                                                                                                                        Useful links

                                                                                                                                                                                    NHS
                                                                                                                                                           Headspace
                                                                                                                                                                                 exam nerves

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The Parents’ Guide to Exam revision (GCSEs) 2020 - 2021 ©

                                                                                                                           Exam anxiety
Reflecting on your own behaviour                                                                   REDUCE EXAM NERVES BY
                                                                                                   FOCUSING ON EFFORT
                                                                                                   RATHER THAN OUTCOMES
A common reason for children being                 reinforcement for something good that’s
anxious is the expectation their parents           been achieved, rather than “Well done, all
have and the worry that they cannot                that revision’s really going to help you pass
live up to that and will let everyone              your exams” which sets an expectation for
down. You may unwittingly be putting               a future event yet to be achieved.
pressure on your child by being
positive about how well they will do.              There are other options
You may think you’re being reassuring
by saying, “of course you’re going to              As an adult with your own life experience,
pass every exam” and expressing your               you know that doing well in exams will
faith in them; they may misinterpret               open doors and provide lots of opportuni-
what you mean and take it that if they             ties to succeed. You’re keen to make their
don’t pass every exam you’ll be disap-             life easier. But exams are not for everyone,
pointed and think less of them.                    and if your child doesn’t do well in theirs,
                                                   there are plenty of other options and lots
That’s why it’s a good idea to focus               of routes to success. Keep this front of
on effort rather than outcomes: “I’m               mind so you don’t give them the impres-
really impressed that you finished your            sion the world starts and ends with their
revision this afternoon” gives positive            exams.

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The Parents’ Guide to Exam revision (GCSEs) 2020 - 2021 ©

                                                                                                             Exam anxiety
Where to get support
Professional support includes more                    of a similar age can sometimes feel
than counsellors and psychiatrists                    easier than speaking to an adult, or
(although both these approaches can                   speaking to someone just slightly
be helpful). There’s a range of profes-               older, who has more recently been
sional options available including:                   through a similar experience can be
                                                      very reassuring;
1. Teachers at school – both in an
   academic capacity to help understand 4. Charities – most now offer both online
   subjects better, as tutors to help create and telephone support. This anonymity
   better ways of working outside school     (i.e. not being face-to-face) can make
   and pastoral experts who can help         talking over problems and worries easier.
   with emotional issues;
2. Some schools have an independent               Too much anxiety
   counsellor available with whom your            If your child is showing several signs of
   children can talk in confidence (i.e.          anxiety on a regular basis (several days
   they will not relay the information to         each week) over a prolonged period of
   the school);                                   time (several weeks) then do seek help
3. Peer support networks – these can be           from external support services and a good
   very helpful as speaking to someone            place to start might be visiting your GP.

Useful links:

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