GCSE exam stress is a very real thing for both children and their parents. Childline, the national children’s counselling service, has reported that in 2016-2017 they delivered well over 3000 counselling sessions to children worried about their upcoming GCSE exams.
The figures are clear; anxiety is on the rise and we all want our children to be happy but we also want them to do well.
Research suggests that parental support is 8 times more important in determining a child’s academic success than social class is. You don’t need to be an educator to help your child succeed and the mere knowledge that you are there helping them to prepare can lift a lot of the weight from their shoulders.
No two children are the same and whilst some will breeze through the time with no trouble, others will need the continued support of both parents and teachers to keep them on the right track and able to meet the demands of the exam period from start to finish.
Here then for your support is a checklist of important tasks and actions which you can take to support your child in their journey towards great GCSE results.
- Obtain a copy of their exam timetable and go through it with them.
- Encourage them to start revision early. The sooner they begin, the less there will be to do each day.
- Get one good revision book or aid for each subject. These can help your child enormously as they break down the initial work into manageable chunks.
- Help them to understand the importance of attendance. Missing classes at this point will only make things harder. This is especially important for the classes they find tricky!
- Learn about exam techniques. Help your child to understand them. The most important thing to remember about this is that the aim is to reduce the notes to one side of an A4 paper by the day before the exam.
- Get access to old exam papers; your child’s teachers can help you find websites which offer these. Match revision notes to the kinds of questions which are likely to be asked. Help your child understand why they need to do this.
- If your child struggles with the revision time, let them know that it’s ok to do it in smaller pieces. 15 minutes then a rest and another 15 minutes is far better than none.8. Ensure your child eats well and exercises often. This can make a huge difference when it comes to learning capacity.
If your child is still stressed or if you feel they need specialised support, you could consider looking into an independent sixth form college. A change of scenery can be the deciding factor for some children. Above all, let your child know that you’re proud of them…no matter how well they do.