January will have been a busy time for those sitting mocks in preparation for the summer. Some will have been reassured when they received their results, while others may have felt disappointed.
After 2 years of uncertain times in school, many of our teens are experiencing a drop in confidence levels, which can be fragile at the best of times.
Schools and staff have worked hard to make up for shortfalls in their students’ experience and the uncertainties and restrictions due to the pandemic. If a student’s results indicate that things are not going according to plan, there is time to make adjustments to learning and revision before the summer.
As parents it can be difficult to know how best to help. So, what can we do?
Invariably teachers are the best source of guidance. They will know your child and how they perform in school. In all likelihood they will have marked your child’s mock exam paper. They have an overview of the curriculum and the exam board specifications. They will be well placed to give relevant and important feedback and guidance.
For a student who is disappointed, it is important for them to try not to panic, or dwell on the mark or grade itself. They need to be encouraged to accept that it was perhaps not the mark they hoped for, and to try to move forward, looking carefully at feedback, and working with their teachers to form a plan. Mocks are a learning experience and a means to an end.
Encourage your child to speak to staff in person, otherwise it is tempting for them to look at feedback and then put it to the back of their mind. A chat with their teacher is the best way to establish what can be improved. Students who find it hard to speak to staff in class might prefer to contact their teacher by email in the first instance. A conversation with their teacher will show staff that the student is engaged and motivated to ask for guidance. Teachers in their turn can help students to identify what will make the most difference.
If there is something they do not understand, it is important to remind your child to ask questions. In addition to providing feedback, many staff offer revision classes or are happy to timetable regular catch-up conversations with students.
Some work on revision skills based on your child’s learning style might be helpful. Or it may be that focus on improving their organisational skills and addressing procrastination needs a little attention. Learning how to set priorities and find a good work/extra-curricular balance can be invaluable at this stage.
Sometimes it only requires a small adjustment in approach to make a significant difference to grades. It is often the case that marks are dropped not for insufficient preparation in a topic, but by not reading the question accurately, not answering the question asked, not showing evidence or calculations, or running out of time in the exam. Much can be done to practise and address these.
School tests, assessments and mocks provide opportunities for students to become more familiar with the types of question they will need to answer in their GCSE and A Levels. Pupils have an opportunity to consider mark schemes, the length of answers required, and how long to spend on questions. They will build up an idea of what to expect and how it will feel.
Revising for any assessment is a good way to see what works for each individual, and alter the approach if needed. Remember, every single exam style practice completed is a valuable opportunity for learning and skill development.
No one likes disappointment: but there is a real chance at this stage, with a little application and adjustment, to make a significant difference in the run up to GCSEs and A Levels.
What went well? What could be better? There are various ways to approach revision to find a method which works best for each student. Once a student knows which methods work for them, good revision techniques can increase exam confidence and reduce anxiety levels.
Lizzie Mitchell: As a university lecturer, Lizzie has been providing academic advice and support for students at university level for the past 12 years. She has developed revision skills advice sessions for small group or 1:1 delivery, which she provides privately to individual students, and to schools. Contact Lizzie via the link below for more support and guidance.Contact Lizzie Here
Keep up to date on our latest insights, guidance and tips
While many families will be looking forward to their first holiday abroad in three years, parents who are recently separated or divorced might be feeling anxious about holidaying as a single parent. Parents who are divorced or separated must take certain steps to ensure that their trip is in line with the law. Annabel Andreou shares her advice for recently separated parents and carers wishing to take their child on holiday.
School is done, but some of us are still working, and the prospect of six weeks trying to entertain your offspring all summer may already be causing you nightmares. We share our tips on how to encourage your teen to balance their screen time and use their time online for good.
Prospective memory develops during childhood and adolescence through to our mid-twenties, but during the teenage years other factors come into play which make it less reliable in certain circumstances. Teenagers need to become increasingly independent in preparation for leaving home and prospective memory plays an important role in helping them achieve this goal. Alicia explains the relationship between prospective memory, alcohol and decision making, and shares tips on how to prevent lapses of prospective memory.
We are delighted to share this blog written by Katrina Judge from Young Climate Warriors on how to counter eco-anxiety and support your child/ren. This resource is also available in The Wellbeing Hub for parents, pupils and staff.
To mark Mental Health Awareness Week 2022, we thought we’d share this blog written by Clare Nicholas on negative thought patterns. Clare shares her advice on how to manage negative thought patterns, practise self-care, and notice your positive attributes. This is a great one to share with your child/pupils.
It is hard living with ME/CFS, patients feel really unwell and miss out on day-to-day life because they simply don’t have the energy to participate. People with ME/CFS often have to make major lifestyle changes to manage their illness, and all of this can make them more susceptible to developing mental health issues, such as depression. Alicia discusses what ME/CFS is, and gives practical tips for parents with children with ME/CFS.
The past two years have taken their toll on the wellbeing of so many people and the last thing we all needed was more uncertainty and drama, but here we are, Russia has invaded Ukraine, and none of us knows how this war will play out. Amongst children and young people anxiety levels are high, and many are feeling frightened as they grapple, perhaps for the first time, with the possibility of war in Europe, and nuclear threat. We share our top tips on how to support young people through these uncertain times.
This week is Eating Disorder Awareness Week and with an estimated 1.25 million people living with an eating disorder in the UK it is helpful to know what we can do in terms of prevention and support. We discuss what an eating disorder is, how to spot the signs, and how to prevent your child from suffering with an eating disorder.
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is a mental health problem which affects two in every one hundred people. It is a complex disorder which can be difficult to understand for both the sufferer and their family and friends. You often hear people joking about being a bit OCD when you see their immaculate laundry cupboard or categorised book collection, but those who suffer from OCD know it is absolutely no joke. So what is it?
As our children enter adolescence, they will start to reject things which seem childish to them, and that may include our gestures of affection. As parents we generally accept their rejection of childhood toys and interests but struggle when we are in the firing line. It is a sad day when a previously affectionate child pulls away from a hug or shuts down your expressions of love. For parents, the loss of intimacy can feel devastating, but what we sometimes fail to appreciate is that even though they are the ones doing the rejecting, they will experience a sense of loss too. In celebration of National Hugging Day, we discuss the importance of hugs for the self-esteem and wellbeing of young people.
The past twenty months have taken their toll on the wellbeing of so many people and the last thing we all needed was more uncertainty and drama, but here we are, Omicron is with us, and life has become unpredictable once more. We share our tips on how to support your children and cope with the uncertainty of life with the new Omicron variant.
We are starting to see an increase in Covid restrictions again and the cracks are showing. Parents are telling us that they are not ok and many are concerned about the mental health of their children, both young ones and teenagers. We are in a period of collective mourning with many of us grieving our loss of certainty, of social interaction, of familiar habits and routines. We want our old lives back and we want it now. We share our tips on how to support your child’s mental health during these uncertain times.
Alicia went onto the Emma-Jane Show’s podcast to discuss all things teens and mental health. This is a very open and honest conversation about recovery, resilience and Alicia’s journey to where she is today.
Following the horrific death of George Floyd and the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement, we have been asked for advice on how to talk to children and teenagers about racism.
With young people online more than ever, those who would seek to influence, radicalise or groom them via social media and gaming will be busy. Find out how to support your child and help them stay safe.
We are working with some wonderful therapists across the country and some are offering two free, half hour emergency sessions to teenagers who might be particularly struggling.