Skip to main content

Girl revising | The Good Schools Guide

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.

  1. Encourage your child to make a revision timetable – and stick to it.

  2. Make sure your child has a quiet space to work, with no distractions.

  3. 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.

  4. Check the exam specifications. All exam boards publish these, along with practice papers and mark schemes too.

  5. 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.

  6. 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).

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. Exercise, fresh air, healthy food and lots of sleep are crucial.

  10. 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.

Most popular Good Schools Guide articles


  • Special educational needs introduction

    Need help? Perhaps you suspect your child has some learning difficulty and you would like advice on what you should do. Or perhaps it is becoming clear that your child's current school is not working for him or her, and you need help to find a mainstream school which has better SEN provision, or to find a special school which will best cater for your child's area of need. Our SEN consultancy team advises on both special schools, and the mainstream schools with good SEN support, from reception through to the specialist colleges for 19+. Special Educational Needs Index

  • Uni in the USA... and beyond

    The British guide to great universities from Harvard to Hong Kong. We tell you how to choose, how to apply, how to pay.

  • The Good Schools Guide International

    Corona Virus As a result of the coronavirus outbreak, The Good Schools Guide International offers the following guidance:  Determine the global situation and that of individual countries on government mandated school closures by accessing the UNESCO information on this link: https://en.unesco.org/themes/education-emergencies/coronavirus-school-closures.   For updates on the medical situation, go to  the World Health Organisation website at https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/situation-reports.  If you wish to contact one of our GSGI listed schools to discover their current status or any plans for alternate learning strategies, please go to our database to find email and phone numbers for each school https://www.goodschoolsguide.co.uk/international-search. If your company makes you brexit, The GSGI should be your first…

  • Schools for children with performing arts talents

    At specialist music, dance or performing arts schools, the arts aren't optional extras. They’re intrinsic to the school curriculum. Students are expected to fit in high level training and hours of practice alongside a full academic provision. It's a lot to ask any child to take on, but for those with exceptional performing ability this kind of education can be transformative.

  • Finding a state grammar school

      There are currently around 163 state funded grammar schools located in 36 English local authorities, with around 167,000 pupils between them. There are a further 69 grammar schools in Northern Ireland, but none in Wales or Scotland. Almost half of these are in what 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, with only a few grammar schools. How to find a state grammar school Word of warning: not all selective grammar schools have…


Subscribe for instant access to in-depth reviews:

30,000 Independent, state and special schools in our parent-friendly interactive directory
 Instant access to in-depth UK school reviews
 Honest, opinionated and fearless independent reviews of over 1,000 schools
 Independent tutor company reviews

Try before you buy - The Charter School Southwark

The Good Schools Guide subscription

GSG Blog >

The Good Schools Guide newsletter

The Good Schools Guide Newsletter

Educational insight in your inbox. Sign up for our popular newsletters.

The Good Schools Guide manifesto for parents