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How can I Prepare my Child for Exams?

Exams and tests are often stressful for both students and parents. Emotions can run high and children feel under pressure to achieve. But with diet, exercise, relaxation and time management, you can help your child to achieve their best

Boy and girl relaxing by playing footballExams and tests can be stressful for both students and parents, with emotions running high and children feeling the pressure to succeed. This blog provides parents with advice and suggestions on helping their child prepare effectively during exam or testing periods.

Understanding the Impact of Diet on Exams

Our diet significantly influences our bodies and minds. Guide your child to maintain a healthy diet throughout the year, especially leading up to exams. Encourage a well-balanced diet with fruits, vegetables, and include oily fish. While sweets, sugary snacks, and caffeine drinks might offer a temporary boost, they can lead to energy crashes. Advocate for healthy 'brain food' like bananas or nuts as snacks, and ensure they have a nutritious breakfast on exam mornings, with porridge being an ideal choice. Hydration is crucial, as water aids thinking skills and concentration, given that brains are predominantly water.


Facilitating Relaxation During Exam Season

Revision is essential, but it's crucial not to overdo it. During the exam season, advise your child not to spend extended hours revising without breaks. Concentration is enhanced in shorter, focused bursts, approximately 45 minutes for older children. Even a brief five-minute break, fresh air, and leg-stretch can enhance learning. In between revision sessions, encourage socializing with friends or unwinding with TV.

The Role of Exercise in Exam Preparation

Exercise is beneficial during the exam season as it helps in relaxation. Suggest various activities such as sports, dancing, playing football with friends, or going for a walk. Fresh air and exercise oxygenate the brain, aiding relaxation, stress reduction, and ensuring a good night's sleep.

Dealing with Exam Stress

Exam stress is normal, but excessive anxiety can be detrimental. Reassure your child, emphasizing that trying their best is all that matters. Remind them that re-sitting exams is an option, and maintaining a positive mindset alleviates stress. Post-exam, encourage them to focus on the future rather than dwelling on the past.

Enhancing Focus During Exams

Guide your child in preparing mentally for exams by helping them get 'in the zone.' Compare exam starting phrases to an athlete's starting bell or preparing for a holiday. Familiarize them with the exam day process, allowing them to visualize a positive outcome.

The Importance of Sleep Before Exams

Adequate sleep, at least 8 hours a night, is crucial before exams. Quality sleep aids rest, memory consolidation, concentration, and provides energy for exams. While evening revision is acceptable, discourage late-night cramming to ensure peaceful bedtime routines.


Understanding Exam Papers

The fear of the unknown makes exams daunting. To demystify exams, review past papers to understand the format and potential questions. Discuss exam paper features, examiner expectations, marking schemes, and question types (Multiple-choice, Single answer, Essays, Options).

For more information on multiple-choice quizzes, read our Multiple-Choice Quizzes article.

Time Management During Exams

Taking exams involves effective time management. Guide your child to allocate sufficient time for each question, recognizing the weightage of marks. Emphasize the importance of planning to ensure they complete the entire exam.

Focusing on Effort Rather Than Grades

Children take exams for personal growth. Avoid pressuring them for specific grades; instead, focus on their effort. Refrain from comparing them to siblings or friends, as every child is unique. Assist in designing a revision timetable and discussing effective strategies.

Organizing for Exam Success

Teenage girls celebrating exam results

Organization is key for exam success. Prepare equipment and clothes the night before to reduce stress. Ensure your child has all required resources, including specific items for certain exams. Familiarize them with the exam location, seating arrangements, and exam durations. A watch can be useful if a clock is not visible.

Last-Minute Tips Before the Exam

Just before the exam, anxiety may peak. Remind your child to use deep breathing to steady their heart rate. Review any additional techniques they find helpful for focus and calmness. Suggest avoiding individuals who may increase nervousness and emphasize careful reading of questions. Encourage them to check their work if time permits for corrections and additional points.

Ensure your child knows you are proud of their efforts, regardless of the outcome. Positivity is key, and celebrating their achievements, such as with a special meal or a family outing, reinforces their hard work.

For more insightful articles, explore the Education Quizzes Knowledge Bank, covering topics that address parental concerns and questions. Whether delving into the details of the National Curriculum or seeking tips on child discipline, our knowledge library is a valuable resource for every parent.


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