At this time of year it’s easy to be focused on the festive season and put exam pressure out of your mind, but exams in many schools will start in January – and it’s not far away.

Getting into positive habits can never start too soon for children to do well in exams, whether they’re internal or external.  How can you help your kids to develop a success strategy?

1:  Know your child.

Do they take exams in their stride or are they a bundle of anxiety and don’t perform at their best?  If you know where the problem areas lie, it will be easier to find ways to improve the situation.

Do they find it easier to learn by reading or by doing test papers or by discussing what they know or writing notes?  You may have to be creative to give them the learning support they need.

2:  Have a family discussion

This is not about making a big deal out of it, you can do this over dinner one evening.  As long as both parents (if appropriate) are clued in about how they can help.

  • Ask your kids what their concerns are about exams.
  • Find out if there are things you could do to help them.
  • Discuss study schedules and what is realistic.
  • Find out if there are subjects they need more help with, but don’t let them miss out on those they feel confident in

3:  Put together a plan

A good study plan needs to include more than just agreed study periods.  To really work well it will need detail of the subjects and what the study session will cover.

If your child needs support, then you may need to set time aside to be available during study periods to do Q&A sessions or discuss specific issues with them.

If important exams are ahead then don’t ignore the holidays.  Plan study alongside fun activities, so they don’t suffer from ‘all work and no play …’

The more interest you show – without harassing them – the better able you will be to get them set up for exam success.