Guiding my teen through GCSEs
As the time has arrived for GCSE and A level exams, I thought that I would share with you the ways I helped guide my teen through his GCSEs last year as easily and helpfully as I could. He coped with his exams calmly and stress free and when results day came, I’m proud to say he absolutely smashed them.
My son has always tried to do well at school, he’s a bright child and is keen to succeeded, but with that comes a high expectation of himself and with that can come stress if not handled with care.
I wanted to make sure he didn’t experience any of the pressures and stresses he felt during his mock exams so I worked out a plan to make things run smother, more time efficient and hopefully less overwhelming.
Please don’t assume I am a pushy parent. My eldest son was not a keen student at all, he loved school for the social side of things but not the actual study, and he had no wish to go into further education. He is a builder, succeeding and very happy in his work. All that matters to me is their happiness.
I think one of the secrets to doing well in exams is the real planning, so I sat down with my son and made a clear revision plan and how he would revise those subjects so then he felt an element of control in what he would be doing.
We made a timetable, adding extra revision time for Spanish, where he wasn’t overly confident. We wrote the study times at 45 minute sessions and have breaks at the end of each just to unwind, take a walk, play a game or get a bite to eat.
We went shopping beforehand and bought note cards, post it notes, and made sure he had enough stationery and highlighters. I had been gradually buying revision guides for him so he already had one for each subject. The best thing we bought was a small handheld whiteboard from Poundland, and it was so helpful with memorizing things, I actually had to buy more whiteboard pens as the one that came with the board ran out.
A tip for easing things is also to make sure that the home remains calm and the workspace as organised as possible, I explained to Reece that his brother was doing tests on his school work and to not disturb him during revision times, and when his brother joins us in between revision it is lovely to see how they chat.
One of the rules I insisted on was that he joins us for all meals, so we could chat and he got that time away from the books and computer.
I also made sure he had no little jobs to do around the home at this time just so when he’s not revising he is enjoying his breaks.
A little walk is great too. It is for everyone a great stress reliever, it clears the cobwebs and is essential for long periods sat at a desk.
The recommended amount of sleep for a teen is between 8 to 10 hours, my son likes a good sleep ( don’t they all at 16? ) so I made sure he was getting a good 10 hours.
When he’s revising I often just take him a nice snack, and check in to see he’s OK, reassure him he’s doing well and sometimes give a few questions on what he’s studied, so that when faced with the real exams he’s kind of used to questions and therefore won’t feel overwhelmed.
It’s such a pressured time for them the main point is that they know they are loved and that you are proud of them however they do.