Exam preparation

Exam Preparation

Students, parents and teachers are in full flow of exam preparation and are now counting down the days until May 16th and the first GCSE exam of the season. Tensions are mounting, but there is light at the end of the tunnel.

 “My advice is, never do tomorrow what you can do today. Procrastination is the thief of time.”

Charles Dickens

David Copperfield

Exams in 2022

The Context

Firstly, I’m going to deal with the elephant in the room… the corona virus pandemic has had an enormous impact on the lives and education of all students. Whether they, or their families, have been directly affected with illness, or whether as a result of being unable to access education during lockdowns, students have suffered over the last two years.

Students are feeling the pressure more as a result. Parents and teachers are helping to manage the stress of the exam process more than ever. 

 

Library exam preparation

Exam preparation

Balance of Study and Work

Many students, irrespective of how old they are, need to work on finding the balance between study and work. 

Inevitably, there are some students who have a more relaxed approach to revision. For the parents and teachers of these students, it’s often an uphill battle to get them to open a textbook, let alone revise from one.

For other students, however, the opposite is true. There are many people across the country who need to be reminded to take a break. To rest. Have some time out of the revision schedule each week to recuperate and relax. Yes, sometimes last minute revision is useful, but not when it negatively impacts mental health. 

The importance of mental health

Mental health and exams

Without good mental health we cannot function to the best of our ability. So during exams it is even more important that we take care of our students.

People deal with poor mental health in many different ways. Some students might throw themselves into extra work, while others will avoid it at all costs. Irrespective of the behaviours, poor mental health can cause forgetfulness, irritability, and the inability to concentrate and focus. Not ideal ahead of an important exam!

 

 

Supporting Students

What can teachers and parents do to support students' mental health during the exam season?

Parents are in a unique position to support and guide their children through this time. Many students in a typical exam year will not have learnt how to deal with the stress of exams. This year, with exams restarting after a two year hiatus because of COVID, students are struggling more than ever. 

Depending on the child, they might need more or less freedom than usual. They might need to be made to sit at the dining table to revise and avoid distractions in their room. One student might need to be told what they are revising, how, and when in order to motivate them to do something. While another may need to be told to put the textbook down and go out for a walk. 

Irrespective of all of this, what matters most is that students have someone to talk to. Help and guidance with individual topics and things they find difficult is important. But it is also important that there is time to socialise with friends and family, time to be outside and enjoy the weather, time to exercise too. 

Exam preparation is not all about revision, it’s about being prepared and mentally fit to tackle the next challenge. 

Food

When people are stressed, they are likely to either over or under eat. One way to support students is to encourage healthy eating habits. Even better if dinner time is sociable.

Sleep

Sometimes students think that revising all night before the exam is going to make up for lost time. It won’t. Sleep is vital for brain function. Turn off that laptop and get an early night.

Social

It is easy for some students to lose touch with their friends when the stress of exams starts to build. Meeting up and socialising on a regular basis is a great way to destress. 

Exercise

It is a well known fact that exercise releases endorphins that make us happy and combat stress. Running, playing sport, or practising yoga are all great stress relievers.

Other places of support

NHS

If you are really worried, get in touch with your GP who will be able to guide you to local service

A national charity aimed at supporting teenagers, parents and carers through mental health. 

A major, widely recognised organisation supporting anyone needing mental health support. 

The school/college

Speak to the pastoral lead at the school/college. They should be able to offer additional support.

Local Service

Your local council website should have a page of support services for mental health.

JMTutoring

Our inbox is always open for students and parents needing support. Contact us for help.

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