Help your child navigate exam season with help from the experts

It is no secret that, for some students, the exam season represents a stressful time. Antony Nesling and Beverley Bloem, Diploma Coordinator and High School Counsellor at ACS International School Cobham, have shared their advice on how you can help your child conquer exam season without being negatively impacted by stress.

1. Manage stress, don’t avoid it
First and foremost, it’s important to recognise that exam season is not something your child can avoid. If the result of an exam matters to your child, it is inevitable that the possibility of not achieving their desired grades will create feelings of stress and anxiety. When these feelings occur, your child should not run or hide from them, but face them head on. This will enable you and your child to identify the trigger points and make a plan in order to deal with the feelings effectively, allowing them to work towards effectively utilising stress as a tool. Once your child can manage their stress effectively, they will be able to focus on the task at hand and do the best that they can.

2. Master study time
Somewhat linked with managing stress, mastering study time is arguably the most important thing students can do to help themselves during exam season. Most students will be revising for several subjects at once, all of which require a great level of understanding with a lot of information to learn – it can be overwhelming! Without a plan, your child could end up feeling as though they haven’t given each topic the time and attention they deserve. By creating a schedule for study time, your child will be able to visualise how much time they should spend on a subject, which will give them the confidence that they are sufficiently prepared. When creating this schedule, we would recommend making it a physical copy instead of digital. By having something tangible, your child will be able to keep it visible at all times to help keep them focused when revising. But this isn’t just to your child’s benefit; a physical schedule can also keep you in the loop on your child’s study time, and can help you aid your child’s focus and make sure that they’re accountable to their timetable.

3. Avoid burn out
Be careful of your child doing too much. If your child’s study time doesn’t account for adequate rest, recreational time and regular breaks, they might start to find themselves mentally unable to focus on the task at hand. Ensuring that your child looks after themselves in this period is just as important as revision. As cliché as it might seem, getting a good night’s sleep and eating healthy foods will help them recoup energy and maintain focus for longer which, in the end, will result in a more productive study session. Remember, every student is different: some students may not burn out for a whole day, some students it may be a few hours – but the important thing is that your child is honest with themselves, and you, about what rest they need in order to help them keep pushing forward in a productive manner.

4. Develop a flexible routine
Even with sufficient rest and a study schedule that allows for plenty of time for revision, it doesn’t necessarily mean that your child will be in a healthy routine with study time. By having a rigid routine that’s focused solely on studying, your child may start to find that studying becomes a chore, and not an enjoyable part of the exam process. Our advice, would be to help implement a healthy, flexible routine that allows your child to enjoy their day, while also staying true to their original schedule. For example, a routine that involves having your breakfast, going for a walk, seeing some friends, and then revising, would be more enjoyable than waking up and revising for the same amount of time. A rigid routine that doesn’t account for enjoyment will ultimately become harder to follow, and as a result may turn your child away from wanting to revise. Flexibility allows them to take control of their own time, and with your support can maintain a healthy relationship with their study schedule.

5. Redefine exams
For our final suggestion, we recommend redefining what exams really mean. We often see students who stress over exams, and it’s easy to see how failure is their biggest fear during exam season. Exams are important for educational development, and of course, every student should work hard to be able to do their very best, but not getting their desired grade will not determine whether they will be happy or successful later on in life, or solely define their future. Help your child to embrace their own pathway, whatever that may look like.

If you’d like to find out more about ACS International School Cobham, and how to visit on their next open day on Saturday 28th September visit their website online at
acs-schools.com/cobham

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