With just a few weeks left to exam time, anxiety levels will be rising in your household. Doubts and concerns hovering in your teens’ minds. How can you help them prepare for exams?
There will probably be moments of high drama “I’m going to fail!” or silences and/or short tempers and snappiness. How are you going to manage all of this?
In fairness to you and your teen, you are not going to remove it completely. It is better to accept that it will happen but work on strategies to keep as even a keel as possible during those times.
Tips to help your teens prepare for exams
Here are some tips that you can try with your teenager, but remember to adapt them to suit you and them!.
Ensure your teen is getting a good mix of healthy nutrition, sleep, exercise and down time. This is crucial to their exam performance. Overnight studying is not good for them however, there is a case to allow them study at times that suit their own body clock. But ensure they still get at least 8 hours sleep.
Did you know that studying actually consumes more calories? Even though your teen is sitting in the one position. The brain is building neural pathways to remember all that information so have plenty of their favourite dinners and snacks available. Now is definitely the time for comfort food, but not too much junk.
Let them continue as much as possible with their exercise routine and plenty of fresh air in nature is a must!
2. Home Environment
Keep your home environment as calm as possible. I know, your other children have to live as well but for a few short weeks, keep them well occupied elsewhere – I’m thinking walks in the park or trips to Grandma – or quiet in the house while study is ongoing. Not an easy task but it will keep the student calm and the younger ones protected from being snapped at.
If they are going through a particularly hard time, talk to them about what is going on. Are they overwhelmed with the workload? They may need someone else to provide a calm head to prioritise their work and break it down into smaller chunks. Be prepared to sit with them to help them work out a study plan.
If they are doubting their ability to pass or get the grades they want, remind them of the work they have already put in over the past two years. That still counts and will support their final revision and preparation. Ensure they have learned good exam technique for each subject.
Keep the perspective! Remind your teen that the Leaving Cert is just a set of exams. Their whole life doesn’t depend on it. They will find their rightful place in the world eventually.
6. Manage your own expectations
Acknowledge their efforts. Even if you think they could be doing more, don’t nag them (I know know it’s hard not too!). How much work do they really need to do to get the result that they want? Encourage them to reach their dreams, not yours. If you feel that they are not working hard enough for their desired results check in with them to see what is happening for them.
Mostly, your teen will want to know that you are supporting them. They may just need to have a rant without you doing anything for them except to listen. At these times, instead of trying to fix their problems ask them directly “Do you want me to help you or just to listen?” If they want you to do something, ask “how can I help?” This leaves them in control while knowing that you are available to assist if needs be.
How do you know if your teenager is studying effectively? They could be spending a lot of time studying but will that translate into results that they deserve? If you would like to learn more, I am hosting a FREE webinar for parents to help their teenagers study effectively on May 2nd 2023. You can register for the link here.
I am a Careers Coach for Teenagers and Young Adults. You can learn more about me here.
I coach teenagers to choose their future careers – Learn more about my programme.
I run an online course for parents to help them support their teens through the Leaving Cert year – find out more about my course here.