In a normal year, the Easter holidays are revision-central. You might have thought it’d be different this year with national exams cancelled, but for many this is still the case, as most schools are holding internal exams to contribute to pupils’ final teacher-assessed grades. Whether they have exams this term or not, the Easter break is a valuable chance for teens to rest, recuperate and tackle any academic hurdles that are holding them back so they can finish the academic year on a high. Have a read of our top 5 tips for parents to help your teen get ready for the Summer term.
1. Make 1-1 time to find out how they’re feeling
Whatever learning gaps, tough exams or ambitious goals your child has to conquer this term, before they can do their best they should find a positive frame of mind. A great way to help them with this is to find some 1-1 time where you can have a proper chat.
This could be on a walk, while you do a household chore together, on a drive, while you’re cooking – anywhere where you can have some dedicated time without distractions. Dedicated time without siblings listening or their phone bleeping will make them feel more comfortable about opening up. By asking them how they’re feeling about the Summer term and what – if anything – is worrying them, you’re helping them to learn how to talk about their feelings. And with any issues out in the open, you can then help them calm some of their worries – and make a plan of action to sort any others.
2. Help them make a study timeline
Before your child heads into the Summer term, they should make a study plan. This will outline which topics and subjects they need to catch up on and what they need to revise when. Your child should have a look through the syllabuses for each subject and make note of where they’re comfortable in their knowledge, and where they need to revisit. With all of this noted down, they can work out what to prioritise in relation to any tests, internal exams or deadlines set by their teachers.
Your role here will depend on what stage of their education your child is at. If they’re a bit older and/or more independent, you can help more by asking key questions that they can answer themselves. If they’re in their early teens or need some more support (or a bit of a nudge), it might be more helpful if you get stuck in.
3. Find extra support
It’s true what they say – a problem shared is a problem halved. Once you know which topics and subjects your teen needs help in, helping them find people and resources that can help them through will make a big difference to their progress over the term. Teens can often get into a state when they get stuck on something, so instead of burying their head in the sand or panicking, knowing they have someone to ask for help will mean they can park that problem and get the support they need early and often.
Our 1-1 tutors studied all the same curriculums as teens in the past few years, so they know exactly what they’re going through. They’re up-to-date on exam techniques and assessment objectives, and because they’re close in age, they explain things in a way teens find relatable. They double up as role models too, so teens get a dedicated revision helper and a subject expert in one.
4. Make sure they practice recall
It’s really important that teens get a deep understanding of their subjects ahead of tests and exams, but as assessments edge closer, it’s equally crucial that they practice their ability to retrieve info and facts from their memory, aka recall. This is key for making sure they memorise what they need to know, and it’s a must when preparing for any exams.
A good way to practice recall is by doing past exam papers and questions to the same amount of time as they’ll have in the exam. Another fun way to test their knowledge is by creating flashcards with questions on one side and answers on the other. Teens can also help each by testing one another – they can do this over video chat from home or, if they live close, they could meet up in a park or garden for an al fresco study session.
5. Help them find personalised study habits that work for them
What works for one teen isn’t necessarily what works for another, and finding the study habits, techniques and routines that work best for them will make it much easier for them to do their best. See if they can time how long they can concentrate for in one go before their brain gets tired – whether it’s 20 minutes, 45 minutes or an hour, having this self-knowledge will help them structure their study time with breaks in the middle of timed chunks.
Another valuable thing for teens to understand about themselves is what sort of learner they are. Visual learners, for example, understand and remember new information best by using diagrams, colours and images. Auditory learners absorb new information by hearing it – through explanations from another person or by listening to recordings.
You can see 7 learning styles and how to adapt studies to suit them in our guide. These aren’t strict categories – the most helpful thing for your child will be if they have a go with a few different study techniques, and hold on to a few that really work for them. While teens can’t personalise their school learning, developing an understanding of how they learn and study best will help them create a home study routine to set them up for success.
Good luck! We know it’s been a tough year for parents and teens, but after this final push it’ll be the Summer holiday before you know it.