4 Ways Parents Can Help Their Child Revise (That Really Work)
Amy studied at the University of Bristol and is our revision blog guru. She only graduated recently so understands the pressures of being a student better than most, and is here to share her wisdom so that you revise effectively, smash your exams, succeed at school and write cracking university and job applications.
As a parent, study leave and exam time can be as stressful for you as they are for your children, with a lot at stake with regard to their futures. All you want to do is help; but it can be challenging to strike the right balance between helping out and being a hindrance. Whether they’re stydying for their GCSEs or A Levels, here are a few easy ways in which you can genuinely help your child revise and commit key concepts to memory: no nagging necessary!
1. Help them test their knowledge
While past papers and topic questions are great ways for students to practice exam-style questions, they’re not the only way of testing knowledge. Active and interactive methods of testing, such as using flashcards, are a great way of helping your kids learn and remember key numbers, dates, facts and figures.
Get them to write key words and dates that they need to remember on one side, and definitions or explanations on the other, so that you can test them. Explaining concepts is a brilliant way of committing them to memory, so this interactive revision technique should prove both engaging and effective.
2. Show that you’re interested
It’s only natural that students don’t love revising — really, who does? — so as a concerned parent wanting the best for your child, it often feels necessary to give them a gentle nudge in the right direction if they’re not doing enough. This is fine – you know what’s best for your child – however your nudges will probably be better received if you’re also able to show genuine interest in what your child studying, and to try and get your head around it so you can appreciate the hard work and effort they’re putting in.
This isn’t to say you should sit down next to them as they pore over their books, but asking about what they’ve revised today, whether you can help, and learning a bit about what they’re studying yourself could help boost their morale and enjoyment of their subjects. And if you do struggle to understand what your child is talking about (certainly no shame in that!), encouraging your child to explain concepts to you (as above) can help them commit them to memory.
3. Create a productive work environment
One of the best ways students can get fully exam ready is by doing past papers in exam conditions. Full exam conditions are impossible to recreate anywhere but the exam hall, but an interrupted hour or two along with as much quiet, or silence, as possible will help give your child the space and environment needed to get used to the exam setting.
Starting the clock with them, giving them a ten minute warning, and telling them to stop when their time is up is a small but significant way of keeping yourself engaged with their work and showing that you are, while not ‘hanging over them’ all the time.
Giving your child a private, tidy and quiet place to revise, with as few interruptions as possible, is generally good practice and should be conducive to more focused revision.
4. Don’t add to the pressure they’re already feeling
This is perhaps the most difficult part, but is also the most important. Exam time is already stressful, with a lot riding on the results, so you don’t want to put your child under even more pressure to do well, when they are no doubt feeling the pressure already.
It’s a balancing act, as you don’t want them to take things too easy, but you also don’t want them getting ill with stress and worry. The best thing to do is be supportive and present, and try to give them as much space and time as possible to focus on the task at hand, whilst ensuring they take breaks and step away from the books at regular intervals.
It can be a trying time for everyone, but with plenty of support and understanding, you can help your child get the grades they deserve.