A Season of Opportunities – Helpful Hints for your Teenager; and for the Parent as Well!

As young people look forward to the summer examinations, there are a few practical measures that a parent can take in order to keep them focussed. Most of these measures do not include spending money at all. The importance of the Christmas break is that it gives just enough time for young people to think and reflect on their current stage of progress and ask themselves honest questions about their level of preparedness for the summer examinations. They are in a position to assess their own progress so far and be truthful to themselves about the grade they wish to achieve in the summer examinations in key subjects and if they are on course to achieving those grades.

Many people make a big mistake by focussing on the Easter break as the time to do most of the revision. The Easter break is very useful but there is a different focus at that time of the academic year. Students have not yet covered some of the modules they will be sitting in the summer examinations by Christmas. However, in a well-organised school or college, students should have done about 60% of the material by Christmas. The mock exams provide an opportunity for the school to test them but the time of the mocks varies from school to school. In some schools, for sixth-form students, the modular exams in January serve as the mocks.

So many people get carried away about all the celebrations and indulgence that exist at this time of the year. Personally, I really do enjoy Christmas time a great deal, despite having to fork out on endless presents! I am so proud that I’ve liberated myself from the horror of Christmas/New Year Sales and I will never be seen anywhere near the shops during the sales period! There is not so much wrong with enjoying all the festivities as it is difficult for me to imagine a world without Christmas. It is a time when the concept of “carrot and stick ought to be applied effectively.

For me in the past, when I have managed to just escape a little bit away from all the distractions of the festive period and put my head down to work on specific things, it has always resulted in a successful outcome. As a way of relaxing, the Christmas carols are wonderful and I’ll recommend listening to Classic FM’ as they play a lot of good carol music. Getting CDs is another option. The carols can be good for the soul, irrespective of your religious beliefs or even if in fact you have no beliefs at all! Ask your son or daughter to try these types of music or anything relaxing as background music whilst studying. In case they enjoy listening to it, they can just keep it to themselves. They don’t have to admit it to their friends or even to their parents for that matter! Back to the issue of motivating teenagers and getting the best out of them; study skills can be a huge factor in determining success or failure.

Study Skills and Study Techniques – How Blocks of Study Time can Help to Manage Time While Revising

One way of making the best use of time spent studying or revising is by using study blocks. Each block of study can consist of a couple of days of focussing on a specific part of the course. You could aim to ensure you spend say between 6 to 10 hours per day and just focussing on a particular subject. For effectiveness, it is good to take breaks. A maximum of between 1.5 to 2 hours should be spent at a particular time and then have a break of about 20 minutes or so, but no more. An eight-hour day could be split into two sessions for example, with a one-hour break in the middle.

You could say to yourself for example “I am going to work on a specific course unit before Christmas Eve and make sure that I complete certain tasks before Christmas. I will then enjoy Christmas day itself, after I have succeeded in doing what I plan to do. It is usually better to do the work before the celebration as opposed to after it. Personally, the best way for me is to plan to do the work before the celebration that follows it. Doing the work before means that you can enjoy the celebration more. The reality is that the work never really ends. The enjoyment time should just serve as a good but important break. The confidence gained whilst doing the work should really serve as a motivator to set up another set of blocks of study time after Christmas. The time between Christmas and the New Year is a wonderful time for following blocks of study time. It is important for each individual to find study skills that work for them and to follow them diligently. A lot of young people often ask themselves questions such as “how can I revise?. Below are some suggestions for getting the best out of study time and preparing for examinations.

In the last couple of years, I have written several blogs on the issue of study skills and you may find this on the blog on our website. Below are two links to blog posts that contain practical help and advice. Below is a list of specific pages on my past blogs where there is practical advice and guidance for both parents and students on this and related topics.