Whether your child is preparing for final exams at the end of a semester, SATs, or a university application exam, being prepared is essential for good results.
And while most of the work does need to be done by your child, there are still things you can do to help ensure they get the best grade possible.
If you’re wondering how to help your child prepare for exams, remember these eight tips to ensure they’re as prepared as possible:
Use Practice Tests
One of the most effective ways of preparing your child for their exams is to give them practice tests. You can find a range of different papers online, from the best 11+ practice papers to GCSE papers.
The main advantage of getting your child to complete practice tests is that you’ll be able to gauge how prepared they are on the different subjects.
And don’t forget to set a timer as your child works through a practice paper!
By getting them used to completing a test in the same amount of time they’ll be given in class, they’ll be able to set a proper pace as they answer questions during the actual exam.
While adults are generally no strangers to stress and its negative effects, it can be easy to forget that high stress levels are just as detrimental to young people.
If you notice your child is putting too much pressure on themselves, take the initiative and find ways to help them let go of their stress.
The most effective way to do this is often with simple communication. Kids can sometimes feel that their entire future relies on a single good grade. Remind them that there are always ways to achieve their goals, regardless of their exam results.
It can also be helpful to set aside some time each day for your child to simply relax and decompress.
Whether they prefer listening to music, writing in a journal, or playing a video game, having time to enjoy themselves will help keep stress levels in check.
Ensure Proper Sleep
Getting enough sleep is crucial for good health, and that’s especially true during the teenage years. Yet teens are notorious for going without the sleep they need.
In fact, the average teen needs up to 10 hours of sleep, yet most teens only sleep for about 7 hours per night!
There are various reasons teenagers tend to not get enough sleep. One of the most common in our connected age is their tendency to use a smartphone or other screens right before bed.
To prevent this, set a house rule that all screens need to be turned off an hour before bedtime. Disconnecting will help signal to your teen’s body that it’s time for bed.
On the other hand, if your child thinks pulling an all-nighter to study is the best way to excel on their exams, it’s important to remind them that there’s no way they’ll be able to do their best while exhausted.
Cook Healthy Food
A healthy diet can have a surprisingly powerful impact on academic performance.
In fact, studies have shown that children who regularly consume large amounts of fruits, vegetables, and foods high in micronutrients like folate and iron also perform better in school.
Adversely, overweight students on average tend to have lower academic scores and are more likely to have difficulty with math and reading.
Make it a habit to cook at home as much as possible, with a focus on meals containing lean protein, vegetables, and whole grains.
And don’t let your child completely skip breakfast, if possible! While many teens tend to avoid eating breakfast, they may later find themselves hungry and struggling to concentrate.
Rather than forcing them to eat, simply make sure they have a protein bar or a piece of fruit ready in their backpack in case they do feel hungry later.
Set Regular Study Hours
To get the best possible grades on an exam, studying is essential. But it’s important to balance study hours with other activities.
That’s why setting a regular schedule for studying can be helpful. The routine will be useful for your child, since they’ll be able to get in the habit of regular studying.
At the same time, they’ll avoid feeling like they have to spend hours on end sitting in front of their textbooks and cramming.
Knowing how to stick to a regular routine is a skill that can benefit your child for the rest of their life.
Setting regular study hours is a great starting point for teaching teens how routines can maximize performance and minimize stress.
Optimize Study Times
When you’re deciding on a schedule for study hours, it can be helpful to consider exactly what time of day might yield the best results.
Contrary to popular belief, studying early in the day is not necessarily any more beneficial than studying at night.
If your child rises with the sun, morning revision could be a good choice. On the other hand, if your teen tends to have more energy later in the day, setting evening study hours may make sense.
That being said, scientific studies indicate that learning is most effective between 10am-2pm and between 4pm-10pm. If possible, set your child’s study schedule during those timeframes.
And, of course, remind your teen that studying should never cut into their sleep.
Support Physical Fitness
Just as a healthy diet is connected to higher academic performance, students with higher physical fitness levels tend to also have higher grades.
It’s recommended that teens get at least 60 minutes of physical activity daily. If your child isn’t getting at least that amount, it’s time to get them moving more.
Keep in mind that increased physical activity doesn’t have to be a chore. If your child isn’t a fan of organized sports, then consider a family bike ride after dinner, or even just a walk around the neighborhood.
Avoid Adding Pressure
It’s only natural to want your child to do their best academically, especially if their upcoming exams could affect their future.
But, putting too much pressure on your child to excel will almost always do more harm than good. Even if they do end up performing well, your relationship with them could be damaged as a result.
Remember that, in the end, your child is responsible for their own life. At some point you may have to let them fail and deal with the consequences.
That being said, make sure to encourage your child to study and prepare for upcoming exams. Suggest appropriate times for revising, and remind them of upcoming deadlines.
With luck, they’ll appreciate your advice and make time to prepare on their own. If they decide not to do so and end up performing badly, that’s an important lesson as well.
After all, dealing with the consequences of a bad exam grade is much easier in high school than it is in college or university!
As much as you may want to figure out how to help your child prepare for exams, in the end it will come down to their own determination and effort.
But you can still give them the best chance of performing well by ensuring they have a healthy lifestyle and by providing plenty of positive encouragement.
With your support, they’ll be able to look with pride at the grades their hard work earned them.