The final term of school can be a hard slog for students, teachers and parents alike. It’s also when students in secondary school are sitting final exams and assessments. It’s important that they feel encouraged and supported to perform their very best and confidently demonstrate all that they have learned during the year.

Here are our hints and tips on what you can do to help them prepare and keep focused.

1.Devise a plan

Find out when exam and assessment periods are to be held, either from your child or directly from the school, and make it an important date in your family calendar. Set aside time to sit down with your child to create a plan of study.

Younger students particularly need some help and direction in this area. They may be able to organise their homework completion each week, but exam revision needs a bit of planning. Sit down together and for each subject research which topics need to be revised (using their school programs of study) and decide when they will revise each topic.

2.Start revising early

The sooner your child starts their revision, the easier it will be. I’m sure we all remember all-night cramming sessions for tests and exams, and while this works for some subjects, it doesn’t work for all of them, in particular Maths! Subjects like Maths and Science need more time to prepare adequately and thoroughly.

Do what you can to help them start early. Set aside blocks of an hour to have them come study at the dining room table while you read the paper. If the environment around them is conducive to concentration, then they will be more likely to get some productive work done.

3.Keep an organised study space

Help them create an organised system for keeping their notes and revision materials together. If your child loves stationery, a few new pens and books to work with will be more motivating than their school books or scraps of paper. Help them set aside a space in their room or in the house for storing their materials.

4.Minimise distractions

To enable concentration, you might need to restrict access to phones and the internet for small periods of time. Just think about how unpleasant study can be, and with today’s ability to distract ourselves easily with a YouTube video or ten, you can’t expect your child to simply get on with their study. Help them out by creating an environment that encourages them to focus with the knowledge that they can return to the land of the internet and technology when the dedicated study period is over.

5.Study in small chunks of time

Sitting down to plan the study is the easiest part. Actually doing the study is the painful bit. So when you’re helping your child plan for success, don’t plan for more than 45 minutes of study at a time with a good half an hour break in between.

Each 45 minutes should focus on one subject, with one or two topics to cover. Your child will be more productive and successful if they know exactly what they’ll be doing in those 45 minutes. If you like, when they’re done, they can spend 15 minutes setting up for the next session so that they don’t waste time finding materials.

6.Keep a list of questions

As they study it’s important they keep a list of questions and problems that they have found difficult. If they can’t find the answer themselves, they might get help from you, a friend or their teacher. Creating a list helps them put aside the problem for now so that they can move on, and when seeking help they’ll be able to use their time with a teacher or tutor more efficiently and effectively.

7.Utilise resources

Working on the same tired worksheets and text books isn’t very inspiring for revision purposes. Resources specifically targeted at revision and examinations are far more enticing and useful.

Ask your child’s teacher for past papers or revision worksheets. Check out some online programs and resource solutions. Visit your local educational bookstore and peruse their range of revision texts. And of course for maths, check out our practice test paper resource!

8.Let them know you support them

Too many parents just expect that their kids will take responsibility for their own learning when at home. Teachers know that you need to set up an environment in the classroom where doing anything other than learning is not an option. As kids get older they will get better at taking responsibility and monitoring their own learning. But it isn’t realistic to expect that 12 to 15 year old kids will really be able to do all this on their own.

If they know that you’re in it with them, that you’re interested and supportive of their hard work, they will put in a greater effort. Every child is different and only you know what your child needs. If they need a strict environment, provide it for them. If they need someone to monitor them and hover around to stay on task, do this for them. If they need you to talk with them about their work and help them revise, be their study buddy. It might be an unenjoyable time for you and an altogether unpleasant experience, but giving them the support they need will truly make all the difference to their success. And of course, the earlier you start this study routine, the better!

If you’re looking for materials they can use to revise for their end of year maths exams and tests, take a look at our practice maths tests. Dr Dennis Ireland, the Head of Mathematics at Methodist Ladies’ College Perth, has given our resource his endorsement and has recommended these practice test papers to the parents of MLC stating “These papers will help your child revise the core content and typical test style questions while also developing and improving their examination and test technique.” Why not give these tailored revision materials a try?

Photo credit: Jixar / / CC BY