After months of learning and weeks of revision, your teen’s exams are underway. No matter how well they’ve revised, their self-belief is just as important for their success – and there’s lots you can do during exam season to help keep any self-doubt at bay. Read on for confidence-boosting tricks that will help your teen achieve their full potential in the exam hall, and beyond.
Why confidence is so important for students
The link between academic confidence and higher grades has been found in a number of studies, including our own earlier this year. Kids who think they’re good at science, for example, are more likely to apply themselves and do better as a result. At the same time, children who think they’re not smart enough to do well are more likely to think “why bother” and try less hard as a result. The good news is that there’s lots you can do as a parent to help boost your teen, especially during exams.
1. Celebrate small wins
Confidence is a cornerstone of success, but achieving these doesn’t have to be intimidating. If your child’s spent all year achieving a C in maths, then get a B in a practice paper, that’s a big achievement to be celebrated. Whether it’s just saying “well done!”, or using it as a reason to have a treat on the weekend, paying attention to their achievements like this can give your teen a huge morale boost. Other examples of small wins could be memorising a list of French vocabulary they need to know, working out the answer to a Maths question they used to find impossible, and even sticking to their study timetable as planned for a few days (easier said than done!).
By setting small goals to lead to gradual improvements too, they’re more likely to meet them and feel more confident as a result, instead of feeling disappointed by missing over-ambitious goals. If they can build up lots of little things to be proud of, by each exam day they’ll feel much more confident overall and get their best possible grades.
2. Write down things they should be proud of
As well as using careful goal-setting and the celebration of small wins to boost your teen’s confidence, it’s also a great habit to write down their achievements. Whether you stick the list on the fridge or keep it in pride of place on their desk, if your teen is feeling anxious and doubtful, looking at a list of all their small achievements can give them the boost to get going again.
3. Partner up
Study leave can be a lonely time, with the regular socialising of school mostly gone. It can be really nice during revision for your teen to partner up with a friend to study with. As long as they don’t distract each other, if they’re both focused then this sort of peer-to-peer support can be really effective.
They can set hourly or daily goals with each other, make themselves accountable as a result. That way, they can also congratulate each other for daily achievements, and help each other by testing and marking each other’s practice papers. As exams loom, it can be really reassuring for teens to realise that they’re not alone and can face their challenges together.
4. Find out where they need help
As each exam looms closer and stress inevitably creeps up on your teen, they might find it easier to ignore what they still find difficult. But if they can tell you where they’re still lacking confidence or understanding, you can help them find the right solutions. Whether it’s a bit of extra help from a tutor to go over difficult topics, finding an online resource that explains the answers, or even going to a revision class at school, together you can help them find the answers they need. Knowing that you’re there to support them and help them out can help minimise their worry and boost their belief that they can do well.
With an online tutor, you can give your teen their own expert help. Our tutors are all academic high achievers, and what’s more, they sat their own school exams in the past few years, so they can explain things in a relatable and relevant way. Once exams have started and your child has less day-to-day support from teachers, time with a tutor lets them go over last-minute worries and niggling problems. This clears up sources of worry, and gives them an all-important confidence boost when it’s needed most.
What’s more, our tutors know there’s no point trying to cram new material the day before an exam, and instead they’ll focus on boosting your teen’s self-esteem, going over handy exam techniques and refreshing what they’ve already learned. The stats speak for themselves too, as 80% of our students told us that MyTutor lessons made them feel more confident.