Dealing with examinations

Before the examination period

Space – provide a quiet space for study, revision and preparation

Time – free up some time by relaxing expectations for chores and family commitments; assess part-time job commitments and limit hours, if required

Routine – establish a regular routine and flexible schedule to create balance

Expectation – help teens know what to expect on the day of the examination

Clarification – encourage teens to ask their teacher questions if they’re unsure

Balance – encourage extra-curricular activities and connection with support networks

Rest – maintain a regular sleep schedule and encourage recreation with regular short and long breaks to relax, exercise and socialise

Breaks – teach teens the importance of study breaks, and returning to study as planned after a break – make a list activities that can be breaks and rewards

Distractions – minimise disruptions to study schedules by encouraging breaks of phones and social media

Talk – find out from your teen about when, where and how they study best – encourage them to take advantage of any study technique sessions run by their school

During the examination period

Your teen’s examination timetable might see them finishing their examinations within a week, or it might stretch out over the full schedule of three weeks. Throughout the examination period you can help by:

  • being constructive and positive
  • encouraging good sleep patterns and eating habits
  • encouraging them to avoid caffeine in the afternoon and evening and emphasise staying hydrated with water
  • having realistic expectations and avoid pushing them too hard
  • encouraging them to take some time out from studying with scheduled breaks and relaxation
  • encouraging wind down time between studying and bedtime.

On examination days

Setting the scene and a positive tone on examination days can make all the difference to your teen. You can help your teen by:

  • ensuring they are well rested, well fed, hydrated, and prepared with the correct equipment and at the examination venue on time.
  • offering some words of encouragement help them feel motivated and confident
  • debriefing after the examination, listening to your teen’s concerns without criticising them, and encouraging them to put the examination to one side and move on to their next challenge or reward.

After the examination period

Waiting for results, offers for places at university or training, or moving on to employment brings new stresses.

Encourage your child to stay connected with their social group and support networks.

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