Revise for Exams
Exam times can be pretty stressful. If not for your child then definitely for you as a parent or guardian! As you’ve probably been through it before, you know how the results can affect what happens in the future. In my case, I had to do re-takes which put me behind many of my friends.
There can be positives to any outcome though, whatever the grade. You may take a different route to what you planned but it could actually take you somewhere way better. We all have to live and learn.
Putting added pressure on your child to do well might not necessarily be a good thing. It could make them sick with nerves or simply put them off from revising altogether. How many of us as adults put off tasks we hate? Making it sound negative will turn exam revision into a massive chore. It really doesn’t have to feel that way.
How To Revise for Exams When You Don’t Enjoy Learning
That’s a struggle that is very real. Kids who hate school or college or just feel they can’t achieve anything tend to be the ones who’ll find something better to do instead.
Yelling at them, threatening them or telling them they’ll never do well in life won’t change the way they learn. It may be a case of focusing on their strengths, then making the ‘boring’ stuff a little more interesting to them. That way, the ‘harder’ subjects will be a little easier to revise.
Here are some tips to help your child revise for exams:
1. Set Out Their Study Space
This is important. Distractions are everywhere – TV, games consoles and mobile phones. So create a space away from lots of noise and goings-on for your child to study in.
That could be a desk in their room or a cleared dining table. But keep that area free from clutter for them at study times and keep noise to a minimum. If it is a communal area or shared room, then noise cancelling headphones might be useful for concentration.
Once they have their space, give them a place to store revision books and invest in paper and nice pens. The smallest things like a cute pencil case or slogan notebooks will make studying a little more pleasurable.
Have positive things around the study space such as nice lighting, a desk tidy and a white board on the wall for making reminders or simply doodling positive quotes for added motivation! Creating the right atmosphere in their environment is a great starting point.
2. Revision Books
Revision books, notebooks or past papers can really help with revising for exams. I have just got my son a revision note pad as he is doing his GCSE exams this summer, and it actually has some great guides in there.
The revision textbooks he has were suggested by the school. They have spaces to write in or answer questions and some come with workbooks to do.
When I was at school, I was completely clueless when it came to revising as I didn’t know where to begin. But workbooks are great just to fill in.
Past papers can also help as your child can see how the exam looks, and can get used to completing the papers. This can make the real exam feel less daunting on the day. If they are feeling brave, ask them to do the paper in the set time as a practice run. Practice might make perfect!
The most important thing is to know where to begin with revision and do it in bite sized chunks. Set a limit of an hour a day or two half hours with a break in between. It needs to be realistic with a goal of learning or remembering something at the end of it. If you begin to switch off, then stop and come back to it another time.
3. Get a Wall Planner
A wall planner is very visual and can be set out to be as appealing as your child wants. Have a look in your local stores or online for a revision planner or simply get your child to make their own.
Use a large piece of paper and mark grids on it to resemble a calendar. Put the dates above each square and fill in where your child has exams. Make sure they write the subject and the time of the exam.
If your child makes their own wall planner, they can use different colours for different squares. They could perhaps doodle a revision book on the ’empty’ days to prompt them to revise in between exams.
At the bottom they could create footnotes, such as reminders to take in text books on certain days etc.
However, if your child really isn’t creative enough to make a planner, a store bought on or wall calendar would work just as well.
They need to be able to see at a glance what they have coming up and what they need to prepare.
4. Healthy Diet
Good nutrition and hydration will help to keep the concentration levels up. Dehydration can lead to tiredness and ‘brain fog’. While eating junk food with higher levels of salt, sugar and additives can affect the memory. Having high levels of sugar can also affect your blood sugar, by raising them quickly. Then once they come crashing down, you feel tired and in need of more sugar.
Highly processed foods and refined sugars should be kept to a minimum. Food such as oily fish and unsalted nuts and seeds are perfect ‘brain foods’ as they are high in omega-3 fatty acids which are considered to be healthy fats.
Ensuring your child gets a decent breakfast each morning is also essential so they can stay focused. Give them something with slow release complex carbs, such as a high fibre cereal and fruit or whole meal toast.
Great toppings for your toast are:
- Poached Eggs
- Scrambled Eggs with smoked salmon
- Marmite or Vegemite
- Natural peanut/nut butter
- Cream Cheese/Cottage Cheese with cucumber
- Pan fried tomatoes
- Smashed avocado
If the thought of facing scrambled eggs just before an exam is too much. Or you just don’t have time to cook in the morning, then make overnight oats the evening before. Or simply make homemade cereal bars (using dried fruit rather than refined sugar) for something easier to snack on.
Healthy snacks are also a great way to keep the energy levels steady. Eat little and often whilst revising or in between exams. No sweets, crisps or chocolate bars!
Related Post: Chocolate Maple Easy Overnight Oats
5. Make it Fun!
Exam pressure doesn’t really sound like fun, but revising doesn’t need to be a hard slog. What you put into it is what you’ll get out of it. Reading the same text over and over without it actually sinking in is just pointless for your child.
So help them out and make it interactive. Create quizzes or check some multiple choice ones online. Help your child by making it light and entertaining. Perhaps even give little prizes. Give a fun incentive when revising rather than promising a big present if they get the grades. Your child needs to feel supported all the way to the end result.
Online educational videos are a relief from all that reading. Check out anything that has been recommended by the teachers. Sites such as BBC Bitesized have lots of subjects and categories which can be done at your child’s own pace. There’s a revision part and video, then a test to take at the end. This is great practice.
Revising with friends can also be great – as long as they actually get some revision done! But having the balance between work and play is important, so it doesn’t feel like a chore or punishment. Completely taking away their freedom (or mobile phone) will only encourage them to rebel. They need to be able to take responsibility and figure out which way works best for them.
Some of us get better results from working under pressure, and some of us run away from the thought of it.
Other fun or creative ways to help with revision:
- Put up post-it notes with prompts
- Make a recording and listen to it before going to sleep or on the way to school
- Make flash cards
- Create a powerpoint slide and run through it
- Encourage your child to make their own schedule
- Encourage them to revise in different places such as the park/library/friend’s house for a different environment
- Get a good night’s sleep! Schedule the studying for during the day and rest at night time