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Exams are undoubtedly nerve-racking for children and their parents. Fraught mums and dads watch over their children during the holidays or 'study leave' and wonder to what degree they should be helping. So, with that in mind, here are our top ten tips on how to help children to revise effectively.
Encourage your child to make a revision timetable – and stick to it.
Make sure your child has a quiet space to work, with no distractions.
Help to find the method of learning and retaining information that works best for them. It could be reading and making notes, using flash cards or Post-it notes, looking at video clips, playing back recordings of their own voice, mind mapping or perhaps a mixture of these. A clutch of youtube videos produced for Radio 1, 1Xtra and BBC Bitesize is full of useful ideas.
Check the exam specifications. All exam boards publish these, along with practice papers and mark schemes too.
Search out revision apps and online resources – such as BBC Bitesize and Gojimo – to clarify areas your child feels less confident about. Teenagers sometimes concentrate on their best subjects and leave their weaker ones till the end but it is a good idea to tackle weak areas early on.
Be around as much as possible. You don’t have to be at their side 24/7 but children like parents taking an interest in their revision (but not taking over).
Keep the kitchen cupboard stocked with delicious food. When the going gets tough children really appreciate a cup of tea, a plate of biscuits or their favourite meal.
Encourage them to break revision into manageable chunks and to take regular breaks in between revision sessions. It’s far more effective to do 30 minutes of successful revision – rather than plough on for hours on end and not get anywhere. This is backed up by research by academics at the University of Sheffield who found that learning is more effective when spread out over stretches of time.
Exercise, fresh air, healthy food and lots of sleep are crucial.
Most important of all, help your child to keep everything in perspective. Remind them that the better they prepare and the more confident they feel in their subject knowledge the less stressed they will feel when the exams start. But by the end of June the exams will be over and it will be the start of the long summer holidays.
If you think your child might benefit from tuition during the run-up to exams, have a look at The Good Schools Guide's pages on tutors.
Some special needs are easy to spot, others are only determined once a child has experienced considerable difficulties, frustrations or social and emotional problems.
Over the years, diagnosis of and provision for SEN have improved, but both can still be a minefield.
Identifying different kinds of special educational needs
Few children fit a condition perfectly – if they do, we tend to say they are a ‘classic’ case. Most will not be straightforward: perhaps a dyslexic with dyspraxia and a touch of ADD, or a child with ASD who also has Down’s syndrome.
Just as special needs are hard to…
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Counties such as Kent or Buckinghamshire are ‘selective authorities’ and most families will have at least one grammar school close to where they live. Elsewhere, for example in Reading or Kingston-on-Thames, there are just one or two grammar schools and competition for places at these is ferocious.
How to find a state grammar school
Grammar schools are located in 36 English local authorities. Almost half of these are considered 'selective authorities' (eg Kent and Buckinghamshire), where around one in five local children are selected for grammar school entry based on ability. The others are areas such as Barnet or Kingston,…
As proud parents, we all know our children are unique. They're smarter than anyone else's, funnier, certainly more attractive, better behaved and above all bursting with the kind of talent that would leave Daniel Radcliffe, Jamie Bell and Charlotte Church standing. And for some extraordinary - though totally understandable - reason, everyone but us seems blind to our offspring's God-given artistic gifts.
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