Tips for parents: How to support your child’s exam preparation

Preparing for the State Examinations can be a stressful process for the entire family. It’s normal for parents to be anxious about how much their son or daughter is working and whether they’ll get the results they need. Parents can, however, play a key role in helping their children cope with exam stress. We’ve outlined some tips below on how parents can best support their child’s exam preparation.

Help to establish effective study and learning habits

  • Help your child to plan their study schedule early and to make a clear, realistic plan of what they want to achieve in each study session.
  • Make sure your child has an environment conducive to effective study: a proper desk in a quiet space in which they will be able to concentrate fully.
  • Remind your child to take short breaks and to move around in between chunks of study time.
  • Offer help sometimes. It can be useful for students to have someone to give advice or practise with.

Balanced routine

  • Help your child to establish a healthy balance in their weekly routine, which includes rest and relaxation as well as dedicated study times.
  • First and foremost, a pattern of proper sleep is extremely important. Encourage the student to do something relaxing like reading or listening to music, rather than studying, in the hour or so before they go to bed.
  • Exercise and sport are highly beneficial habits for your child to get involved in.
  • A balanced diet containing plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, as well as adequate hydration, are key ingredients for all teenagers, let alone those studying for exams.

Create a supportive atmosphere

  • Your attitude is crucial. Remain calm and try not to transfer additional anxiety on to your child in the lead up to the exams. Don’t place unnecessary pressure to gain certain grades. They may feel they’ve failed if they don’t achieve what they thought was expected of them.
  • Try to support your son or daughter rather than ‘policing’ them.
  • Observe how your child is dealing their stress. Ask how you can help if they appear to be struggling. Sometimes it’s just enough for your son or daughter to talk things through. Actively listening can be enough to support them.
  • Keep perspective: exams are not the be-all and end-all. Your child isn’t defined by their results, there are many career options open to them.

Get more help if needed

If your child is struggling with a particular area of study, support them in approaching their teacher to address the problem and get the help they need to master it. Courses teaching Study Skills or Stress Management can also be extremely beneficial for students.