For parents with children taking important exams

Julie ByrneJulie Byrne | Cap d'estudis de nens i joves, IH Mataró

—Aquesta pàgina en Català English

Nowadays exams play an ever more important part in the life of young people, especially teenagers approaching Bacherilato or Selectividad. We are now in the final part of the academic year and the run down to June exams has started. I'm not just talking about English Cambridge exams here, but all kinds. I find that, in general, secondary schools tell their students what to learn but are weak on telling their pupils how to learn – something which can have an important influence on exam results. Effective studying for an exam is fundamental and, as parents, perhaps we can influence our teenage children a little. Here are some ideas.

  • Start formal revision six to eight weeks before exams begin.
  • Don't just read stuff through – do something with it! For example highlight, make bullet pointed lists, matching pairs.
  • Plan – make a large wallchart calendar or a week by week timetable.
  • During revision take a break of 10 minutes for every 50 minutes of work; this will help you retain information.
  • Reviewing your notes (by doing something with the new material--reading, thinking, writing, or talking about it) at the end of the day, giving 10 minutes for every hour of new material you took in and want to retain.
  • Reviewing your notes (see above) at the end of the week, giving 5 minutes to each hour of new material for that week, then giving the same material 2-4 minutes of review at the end of the month
  • Changing subjects or tasks every hour.
  • Start a revision group – revise with friends
  • Get enough sleep! Students who are sleep-deprived have lower marks.
  • Give yourself targets and rewards when you achieve them – a cake, a sandwich, watch your favourite TV programme.

These are just some ideas. Most have scientific reasons why to use them – although there is no space here to give details. The problem might be communicating these ideas to your children – but it's worth a try!

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