Top tips for the examination period (from a recent graduate)
Just to introduce myself, I am a recent Masters graduate from the London School of Economics and Political Science and I am currently working as a course advisor here at Excel in Key Subjects. As someone who has recently left full-time education, I thought it would be useful and appropriate for me to share some tips on how to handle the busy and daunting exam period. Whether your child is preparing for important end of year tests or getting ready to sit their public examinations, the exam period presents challenges for both the student and their families.
These tips are a reflection of my experience throughout my time in secondary education, and hopefully, will successfully aid you and your child through the exam period.
A lot of students are under a lot of pressure around this time of year. Not only are students facing the most significant examinations of their academic journey thus far, but they are under the added of pressure of having to achieve a set of grades to move them on into tertiary education.
One piece of important advice we must give to students (and to parents), is to keep calm! Stress, panic and worry can be detrimental to the mental state of a student about to sit an important exam. It is important to ensure that students are in the right frame of mind, and aren’t worrying about the eventual outcome or impact that these exams can have on their future. As a parent, you are partly responsible to ensure that your anxiety and willingness for your child to succeed, is not contributing to or providing extra levels of pressure for the student.
Whatever happens in these exams, it’s not the end of the world! Do your best and remember, whatever will be – will be. As a former student who ended up missing out on my first choice university (University of Exeter), I can assure you that for me, missing out on the one grade I needed was actually the best thing that happened to me. As I ended up at a university that was much more suited to me (University of York), and then went to undertake a Masters at one of the best universities in the world.
Believe me, everything happens for a reason!
GCSE’s are a critical time for students as these are usually their first public exams, and as a result, the first set of exams that have real meaning beyond secondary education. GCSE’s are challenging as they require enormous discipline for young students, whom have to prepare for a large amount of papers within a short time period.
The best possible advice we can give to students and parents, is that organisation and preparation are the key to success.
As a parent, it is important to ensure that your child is in the right frame of mind, and in the right surroundings in order to ensure they can organise themselves efficiently. Organisation is about balance; revision, relaxation and extra-curricular activities all play a part in this and in ensuring success at GCSE level. Nonetheless, a lack of organisation with these activities can lead to either exhaustion (by the time the exams come around) or a lack of sufficient preparation for their papers.
It is not easy, as a parent, to judge how prepared your child is for the exams, no matter what they say before hand, either positive or negative. One can only do their best; and that goes both for you and your child. While it is down to your child to put in the work and the revision required to succeed, it is important the parents provides them with all the tools and motivation to succeed. Sometimes a little push can drive them a long way at this time of their educational journey.
Although Key Stage 3 students usually do not undertake any public examinations, this is still an important period that can often define the student’s trajectory for the rest of his academic life. The end of year exams are designed to assess the students and prepare them for their GCSE’s; often deciding where and how the student will be taught.
One piece of advice that I can offer both parents and students whom are approaching their end of year exams is to avoid complacency. Without a clear goal outlined for you, it is very easy to underestimate the significance of internal exams. Nonetheless, these exams are likely to define not only how you are taught (which set you are in for key subjects), but also which level of paper you will be enrolled to take.
As a parent, one can only do their best to motivate their child. Nonetheless, reinforcing the importance of this period and these set of exams to your child could go a long way in ensuring they can achieve their potential further down their academic journey.
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