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How To Help Your Teenager Through Exams

How To Help Your Teenager Through Exams

by Deborah Cruz

Estimated reading time: 7 minutes

School just got out for the summer but I’m already thinking about how to better prepare my girls to succeed next year. Exam time can be stressful for both teenagers and parents alike. As a parent, you realize that the results your teenager gets at school or college will reflect the path they take afterwards. Now, I’m not too worried because I know that there is no one path to success but some paths are definitely easier than others. If your teenager can do well, it could set him up for the future. This is why you need to know how to help your teenager through exams.

Although our teenagers will have to rely on their own knowledge, there are some things you can do to make school and the exam season much easier. If you’re wondering how to help your teen get through her exams, check out the following tips.

Meal Prep

One of the best ways you can help your teenager tackle studying for exams is to make sure she eats well. Eating and drinking properly is essential. Your teen will need the vitamins and nutrients for good brain function and to maintain energy levels.

If you’re seeing your teen going back and forth to the fridge for energy drinks and snack bars, they may not be eating well enough. Do her a favor and make sure she eats three nutritious and well-balanced meals a day to give her the best chance at absorbing and retaining all the information she’ll need to do well on her tests.

Avoid Adding Pressure

Many teenagers say that they feel pressure from their families more than from anywhere else. It’s easy to unconsciously make your teen feel under pressure by hovering too much or asking a lot of questions. I know I’m guilty of this and I never thought it was putting pressure on them until my girls told me it was. Now, I think before I start asking too many questions about exams. Maybe you’ve even offered incentives for doing well. Bet you didn’t realize even that can feel like immense pressure to a kid studying for exams.

There are many variables that contribute to the grades that each child will get from their exams. It can depend on revision time, nerves, whether your child got enough sleep, and all sorts of things. Encourage your teen to do well but take the pressure off. I like to tell my girls to just do their best. Really, that’s all any of us can hope for. 

Good Sleeping Patterns

It can be tempting for your teen to stay up late trying to cram in revision hours before an exam. Who amongst us hasn’t spent an all-nighter cramming for exams? Not only is this counterproductive to remembering information but it’s also unhealthy. My freshman year of college, I stayed up all night studying for a chemistry exam only to fall asleep at dawn and miss my exam.The best thing your teen can do is sleep well and use the hours available to study.

Although you have no control over when your teen goes to sleep, it can help to explain why being well-rested before an exam is so important. Encourage your teen to get as much rest as needed before an exam.

Play Games

Your teen is going to need a break from studying every now and then. These mental breaks are important for clarity and taking time to have some fun. Games are a great way to have some fun while still keeping the brain engaged. My girls and I live for our Mario Kart brain breaks.

However, more cerebral games like Chess, for instance, are ideal for engaging your teens brain and developing problem solving skills. Even though your teen is taking a break, he’ll be able to return to his studies with the ability to continue without too much effort.

Study With Her

There may be some subjects that you aren’t familiar with but that doesn’t mean you can’t help your teen study. If you want to be hands-on with helping your teen, getting stuck into study with her is ideal. Find a quiet place to sit together and test your teen on his knowledge.

You can ask questions from what you read on a page or ask typical exam study questions from past exams. This can be particularly good for teens with ADHD. Spending this time is a good way to bond together and your teen will remember that you were there to help when she needed you.

Recognize Exam Stress

Most teenagers have a healthy amount of exam stress. However, some teenagers may suffer with an unhealthy amount. For instance, some teenagers may display signs of severe anxiety, insomnia, loss of appetite, and many more. This happens to be the case for my girls who both suffer from extreme test anxiety.

If you recognize any of these symptoms, it’s worth talking to your teen about what you see. Make sure your teen knows that physical and mental health should always take priority over exams and you’re always there to talk if she needs to.

Let Little Things Go

Perhaps your teenager has a chore list to do around the home. Maybe she’s responsible for walking the dog in her spare time. During exam season, these things need a little more flexibility.

If you notice dirty plates in his room and his dirty clothes are still unwashed, give her a pass. You can help her by taking on a few of these jobs so she has more free time to study without feeling overwhelmed by everything she has to do.

Be Positive

Have you ever read the information on a page three times and still not been able to take it in?  Preparing for exams takes a lot of effort and there will be times when your teen may feel like she’s failing. Be positive and supportive during this time so she knows you believe in her.

Make her feel like as long as he does her best, she can’t fail. Empower her to be confident. No matter what the outcome of her exams are, she can forge her own path if she works at it. Where there’s a will, there is always a way.

Study Space

If you’re able to, create a dedicated study space for your teen that will help to set her up for success. If she’s trying to study in the room she shares with a younger sibling, it may be hard to get anything done. Find a quiet and secluded place for her to study, even if it’s just temporary.

It’s also worth explaining to other family members ( younger siblings, I’m talking to you) that your teen needs space and quiet while she studies. Doing well in exams can be a whole family effort when your teen needs a helping hand.

Exercise

Teens cannot live on studying alone. The brain doesn’t work as well without good blood and oxygen flow. Encourage your teen to take walking breaks to get her body moving. It could be as simple as getting up and walking up and down the stairs in your home.

Even better, go for a walk with your teen outside to get some fresh air too. Healthy body and mind for everyone. This will be a huge boost to your teen and she’ll go back to studying with renewed energy and perspective.

Listen To Any Concerns

Don’t assume your teen has no concerns because she hasn’t voiced any. You may be surprised at what your teen is thinking if you ask her. Take some time to talk to her about how she’s feeling about her exams. And make sure she knows that her feelings are valid.

Try to validate her concerns and offer support. Often the best thing you can do is listen, rather than trying to offer solutions. You don’t always have to be the fixer. If your teen feels heard and supported, other things will fall into place.

Reward Effort

Rather than offering an incentive for results, think about rewarding effort. You’ll be able to see how much effort your teen is putting into her studies. Regardless of the results, if you know your teen has worked hard, reward the effort.

This will show your teen that effort is worthwhile and hard work pays off in many different ways. It could mean that your teen is willing to try again if she should fail this time around.

Ask For Support

If you can see that your child is struggling with a particular subject, it may be worth getting some extra support. An hour a day with a tutor at home could make all the difference to your teens exam results. How your teen is taught will affect how she feels about the subject and exam results.

If your teen hasn’t got a good teacher at school, some extra tuition could change everything, including your teen’s confidence.

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