MyTutor for Parents

The night before an exam: a parent checklist

The night before an exam can be a nail-biting time for your teen. They’ve spent ages revising, and now the big day is so close. As a parent, you want to help them relax so that when they’re in the exam hall, they can feel their absolute best. 

And so, here are 9 ways you can support them the night and morning before an exam. 

The night before an exam…

☑️ Make sure they eat something

A healthy, balanced dinner will help set them up for the big day. And if they have no appetite – which can happen with exam nerves – give them healthy snacks through the evening. Carrots and hummus, fruit skewers, and light carbohydrates like rice or popcorn will give them the fuel they need. 

☑️ Remind them to pack their school bag

Having everything ready to go will make the morning run much smoother. They can pack their exam essentials the night before: black pens, rulers, calculators, water bottles, snacks. 

You can encourage them to put their own checklist together so they’re sure they’ve got everything. They should set out their clothes too. Even with a uniform, it’s better to have it all laid out so there’s no last minute panic!

☑️ Help them switch off

Some teens just can’t pull themselves away from revising and might carry on until the last minute. If they want to keep working on it the night before their exam, make sure their revision is light. They can revise with flashcards, or look over cheat sheets. But practicing a whole exam paper might be too much and make them feel anxious instead of calm.

When they’ve done all the studying they can do, they just need to chill out. Whether that means watching their favourite show, or soaking in the bath – encourage them to relax.

☑️ Give them lots of encouragement

Teens, like the rest of us, want to feel understood. Acknowledge that exams can be tough and let them know you’re proud of all the effort they’ve put into revising. Remind them that you’ll be proud of them, whatever their grades. You can even have some fun with a mini celebration after each exam. A small treat like ice cream or a trip to the cinema can really boost their mood.

☑️ Make sure they get an early night

We all know that sleep is important, but we still stay up! To get a good night’s sleep, encourage your teen to stay off their screens for 1-2 hours before bed. 

They’ll probably know that sleep is important before an exam, but they may struggle to nod off if they’re feeling anxious. To help them relax and drift off, have them try a sleep meditation or listen to a sleep story.

☑️ Try and relax too

Exams aren’t just a stressful time for teens. As a parent, you’re probably worried about your child, and want the very best for them. But teens can easily tell when their parents are stressed – which only adds to their own anxiety! So if you can, chill out. 

The morning before the exam…

☑️ Listen to feel-good music

Listening to music they love can help to boost their mood and calm their mind on the day of the exam. Even better, turn on the tunes in the shower – this will help them to wake up and kickstart their brains and bodies.

☑️ Eat a healthy breakfast

Just like with dinner, it’s important for your teen to eat something before their exam – even if they’re feeling the pre-exam jitters. They need fuel and energy to perform at their best, so opt for foods like eggs, brown toast, peanut butter, bananas, yoghurt and nuts.

☑️ Aim to arrive early

Encourage your teen to arrive at the exam’s location a bit early. This means they won’t feel rushed and they can get comfortable with their surroundings. Aiming to be early can also help to reduce exam nerves. 

With a little support and encouragement, your teen can go into that exam hall feeling confident and ready to do their best. Also check out our 11 healthy habits to try during exam time.

Did you know that tutors can help your teen before and during exams? They can help your teen feel prepped and help them maximise last-minute revision. Find the right tutor for your teen here

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