With GCSEs just around the corner many teenagers are settling into a period of revision and exams, and more revision and more exams. This is a crucial time for all GCSE students with exam results dependent on the effectiveness of their revision. For parents of diligent children who are committed to doing their best this is all well and good but for some parents this period is a struggle as they try to cajole reluctant children into revising. Whichever camp your child falls into there is also the question of how much parents should get involved anyway. To what extent should we say ‘what will be will be’ or can we influence the outcome of exams by imposing a strict revision routine?
When it comes to GCSEs can parents really afford to not get involved? College places depend on these results, and even some jobs and university places. So, to what extent should you get involved in your child’s revision? Here we discuss the ways you can help and when it’s better to take a back seat:
1. Create a Revision Timetable
This is something that should be carried out by the child but with supervision from a parent. Your child should know when their exams are and be able to create a revision timetable around this. Double check they have allocated equal time to each subject, prioritising the first subjects they will be examined on. If you know they are weaker in a particular subject or aspect of a subject suggest they juggle things so this subject gets more attention. If neither of you feel able to come up with an effective revision timetable ask a teacher who will know exactly where the most time needs to be spent.
2. Create the Right Environment at Home
This is one area where parents should get involved and exert a positive influence. Make sure your child has a quiet, organised study space to use over the coming weeks. Remove distractions such as the tv and electronic devices. Make sure they have exclusive use of this study area for the duration of the revision and exam period so they can leave revision papers and books where they are between revision sessions. Discourage noisy siblings from interfering. Set aside specific hours every day for quiet revision and make sure everyone in the house knows when they are.
3. Help with Revision Sessions
The extent to which a parent can and should get involved will depend on the child themselves. If your child is happy to study by themselves and seems to be getting on with work they can be largely left alone. It will be useful for them to discuss the topics they've been revising with someone so be available during their breaks and quiz them. If your child is reluctant to revise by themselves you could arrange for group revision sessions with a friend or sit with them yourselves if you are able to.
4. Hire a Private Tutor
For some children having sessions with a private tutor offers an excellent solution and the ideal way to ensure effective revision is taking place. Experienced private tutors know the type of questions that will come up in the exams so highly relevant revision can take place. They will also be able to quickly identify areas of weakness and know the best way to teach certain topics effectively. Revision sessions with a private tutor are ideal if your child is reluctant to study by themselves or is unsure how to revise effectively. Tutors are also great at stretching bright students who are aiming for top grades. The ideal tutor for your child can be found at Fleet Tutors, a country-wide agency that can supply tutors in your area.
5. Go Through Past Exam Papers
This is an essential part of the revision process and is one area where parents can get involved to some degree. Past papers can be obtained from your child’s school or can be found online. Create realistic exam conditions as far as possible ie. ensure silence, time them and make sure your child doesn't refer to anything in order to complete the paper. This is one area where a private tutor can help, especially when it comes to going through the answers, working on exam technique and discussing difficulties.
6. Feed Body and Mind in Order to Revise Well
This is one area where parents can take charge. Your child won’t be able to focus on revision if they are hungry or thirsty. Make sure there are nutritious meals available three times a day and healthy snacks for frequent break times. Don’t overdo it though. There’s nothing that will make your child sleepy during valuable revision time than a large, carb-laden lunch.
As we’ve outlined above there are times when you can, and should, get involved during revision time but equally your child needs to be allowed to get on with their revision by themselves. Take your guide from your child when deciding whether to get involved. Are they diligent naturally? Are they getting on with effective revision by themselves? Should you hire a private tutor? Ultimately if you and your child take this revision period seriously and aim for the best possible outcome you be rewarded with results that truly reflect the hard work you've put in.