Advice for pupils
It is never too late to put in the extra work to improve those grades!
- Choose a suitable place to study. Remove temptations such as TV, computer games and mobile phones.
- When you have a day’s study stretching ahead, stick to working during regular school hours. Even if you are a ‘night-owl’ your exams are going to be during the day and you don’t want to be too tired to think. Start work at 9 am and then you can finish early and relax in the evening.
- Be organised. Make sure that you have the necessary notes and text books to hand.
- Don’t just read over the notes as you will quickly lose concentration. Make your revision active by making a list of questions, a mind-map or reciting information aloud.
- Test yourself on work you have covered and make use of parents to test you, especially for things like dates and vocabulary.
- Past papers and mark schemes are important tools to use. They will give you experience of exam format and the types of questions you can expect. It also will give you an insight into what the examiner will be looking for.
- While on study leave if you hit a problem, take a note of it and move on. Speak to your teachers when next in school or when you have a number of queries. Don’t waste valuable study time travelling in and out every time you hit a problem.
- Make sure that you bring the necessary resources for each exam. Pens, pencils, ruler, rubber, calculator, protractor etc.
If you find work getting on top of you, check out the following website http://www.childline.org.uk/Explore/SchoolCollege/Pages/Beatexamstress.aspx
Advice for parents
- Try not to rise to the bait if your son is stressed and appears more grumpy than normal. Keep him fed and watered! Encourage him to stick to his planned period of revision but ensure that he gets a balance of relaxation time too.
- Ensure that your son displays his exam timetable somewhere that you and he can see it.
- Check the night before what time he needs to be in school for.
- If he is not getting driven to school, check in advance what the bus/train timetable is like for that time of day. Transport links may not run as frequently in the middle of the day as they do in the morning rush-hour. You do not want to add to his stress if it seems as if he may be late for the exam.
- Your son must NOT bring his mobile phone into the exam room so it is better left at home.
- Ask how the paper went but it is best not to do a ‘post-mortem’. What is done is done! He should move on to preparing for the next exam rather than dwelling on what has been completed.
Janet Williamson is the principal of Royal Belfast Academical Institution