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How to help your child prepare for their first exam

If your child is now in Year 10, November may be when they will take their first ever ‘real’ exam. Some GCSE modules have exams which fall in this month and the results from these tests will be part of the eventual grade that your child achieves.

So if your child has never taken an exam how can you help them prepare?

  • Get the balance right. You need to help your child revise the subjects enough that they do well in the exam without getting them so stressed about it that it affects their physical or emotional well being.
  • Have a plan. Sit with your child and come up with a revision plan, it’s a good idea to figure out how they best learn. Your child’s teacher will have told them what they need to learn so it’s a matter of breaking it down into manageable chunks. Check with the school what exams you child will be taking and when.
  • Take breaks. There is a point where we all switch off from learning or revision and our brain stops taking in information, learn to recognise when that is for your child and build in frequent breaks for food, drink or just relaxation.
  • Flash cards. One idea that works for some children is to create notes or flash cards as they revise each chapter or topic, in this way they can easily see the main points and not get overloaded with information. This is also a good way to review the major topics as the exam gets nearer.
  • Remember to stop. Don’t push your child to revise until minutes before the exam. It’s especially important the night before that they get a good night’s sleep and they can’t do this if their brain is in overdrive.  It’s worth keeping in mind that it’s not the end of the world if they don’t pass, there are always resits.
  • Past papers. It will really help both you and your child if you can see what kind of questions have been asked in the past. Ask your child’s teacher if these are available.
  • Don’t avoid the hard bits. If it looks like your child has a problem in a particular area then don’t avoid it. Maybe try a different technique such as drawing out the problem or talking it through. One way to tackle tricky areas is to have one on one tutoring, where they can focus on a particular area and gain confidence.
  • Eat well. Children who eat a good breakfast perform better at school. During revision periods and on the day of the exam keep them going with a nutritious breakfast such as cereal and make sure they are getting all their essentials vitamins and minerals.

If you think your child needs some one to one help preparing for exams then we can help. If you’re based in the Manchester, Stockport, Wilmslow and Cheshire areas and would like to discuss exam tuition options, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us at 121 Home Tutors.

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