Helping your child achieve their exam goals: a guide for parents

What can I do?

As a parent, you’ll probably know when things aren’t going right at school for your teenager. But now you know there’s something wrong, how can you help? We’ve surveyed 200 parents whose children are taking their GCSEs and A levels, and identified the most common difficulties that hold pupils back, including lack of self-esteem, poor motivation, and knowledge gaps. We spoke to the people who’ve already been down the path you’re on: the parents and tutors who’ve helped their children or students get better grades and more self-confidence.

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Our tutors

All of our tutors have achieved excellent results in their own GCSEs and A-Levels. Now they’re helping the next generation of students do the same. We’ve asked some of our top tutors to share their insights on achieving your academic potential. Meet one of our tutors Mathew who studies Maths at Warwick University and has many years of experience tutoring both online and in person. Having helped his students tackle the harder aspects of A-Level maths he is here to share his advice on how to motivate a reluctant learner.

How to fix a crisis of confidence

When a student starts falling behind at school, they can blame themselves and start believing they’re just not up to the task. Once that happens, things can spiral out of control and the situation can get much worse than it needs to. Making sure that your teenager has activities outside the classroom where they can see themselves progressing can work wonders. Our tutor Mathew says a crucial step is showing his students how they’ve made progress, after all true confidence “comes from small successes building up”.

How to motivate a reluctant teen

Few of us make it through school without coming across at least one subject we can’t stand. When learning isn’t fun, it can be a real struggle to maintain the necessary focus and effort. For a lot of teenagers, motivation is external. Understanding how their studies and grades will impact their future can make a huge difference.

How to make sure they’ve got the study skills they need to succeed

Teenagers and organisation can be like oil and water. But getting yourself organised is key to academic success. Last-minute cramming isn’t as effective and knowledge acquired this way fades fast. Effective revision isn’t just learning new information, but also ensuring your teenager gets the maximum marks for what they do know.

How to fill in any gaps in knowledge

There are all kinds of reasons why your teenager might have some topics that they just don’t get. Maybe the topic didn’t make sense to them and the teacher didn’t have time to give them extra support. The pressure on teachers means they don’t always have the time to dwell on every topic, and some students can get left behind. See if the school has any support systems in place, such as catch-up sessions or revision classes.

Finding the right approach

The parents and tutors we’ve spoken to have all been working with different teenagers and different needs. It is all about finding the right approach. As we’ve seen, this starts from identifying the cause and deciding how best to tackle it.

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