It’s that joyous time of year again!
So how do we all survive? Well the teachers will have to answer for themselves I’m afraid, I’ve never been there so can’t help (although the requests for Oreo cheesecake seem to be on the increase from those that I know!)
We’ve survived several sets or varying levels now, so what follows is only our opinion, there is no fail safe way to guarantee success, and what works for us may not work for you. But if we can help you through it, then all the better !
1. Breakfast, always start exam day with a decent breakfast, a slow release carb, milk and fruit if possible. We always go for porridge on exam days if we can.
Along side what they eat, their environment is important. It should be as normal as possible, if you make a fuss of what is to come, so will they! Play down the tension by just being as normal family (well, as normal as you ever are anyway!)
2. Getting to school. I well remember Bernard having a ‘brain gym’ session at the beginning of each day at primary school.Basic basic warm- up exercises to kick start their system, which in turn kick starts their brains.
So do the same on an exam day, try and walk to school if you can, fresh air and a brisk walk to stimulate their grey matter.. It’s not always possible, so if you have a long walk, or tricky roads to deal with, have a dose of callisthenics before you leave the house. And I don’t mean in gym kit, star jumps and pull ups, dancing to the radio, and a game of tag round the garden are just as helpful!
3. Pressure. The school and the system put our kids under a lot of pressure, don’t add to it! We all want our children to be successful in life, but success can’t always be measured by standards that other people set down for us. Being good at writing an English essay or answering maths problems isn’t the be all and end all of success. Being happy, being loved and being supported and supportive is successful – and if you give your child that success, then the exams will fall into place!
4. Expectation. Don’t expect your child to do as well as little Timmy down the road, don’t be drawn into a battle of results with the yummy mummys in the playground or on FB. Who cares what they got? The only person your children should compete with is themselves, as long as they’ve improved their own score – then they are an epic learner! If they don’t get the result you wanted, don’t show disappointment, they are probably already disappointed in themselves and you’re just adding to the pressure, which is never going to help them get any better!
5. Exam prep and technique. I have very strong opinions on Sats test – and in fact I removed Splosh from a set because I wasn’t happy with the pressure from the teacher! And I wrote to the governers and OFSTED and told them as much! No- one should pressure a primary aged child about exams and in the grand scheme of life – the results are irrelevant! So don’t sweat it, and they won’t either! When you get to GSCE and A level – step back! The school will be pressuring them enough for both of you! Treat them like the young adult they are, explain the implications of not passing and let them get on with it! If they screw it up, they will pay the price and learn a valuable lesson! The chances are with support and understanding from you they won’t! But if you bully them into revision they will kick against it and the time is taken up with battles not revision and you end the day stressed and at loggerheads. Mental attitude is half the battle in learning, so you won’t be helping them succeed! They have to learn to succeed for themselves, because it benefits them, and make their own decisions – now is as good a time to start as any!
Teach them to switch exams on and off! Don’t engage in the hyped up pressure with class mates before hand – it won’t help and only make them doubt what they know. As soon as it’s over – switch it off, the exam is over, you can’t change it so don’t involve yourself in the post exam conversations about who wrote what and what was the answer to 3b? Listening to others may make you doubt your answer, and giving yours may upset someone else who got it wrong.
I hope the exam season goes well for you all, and that the results you get will give you the opportunities you want!
Don’t fall out over it all! No results in the world are worth fighting over!