Leaving Cert 2022: Five expert tips to get your teen through exams successfully
Most Irish people of a certain age equate the month of June with one emotion: the murky specter of trials looming. For around 120,000 school children, the wait is over. In the next few weeks, the fruits of their labor will either be ready to be picked or will wither on the vine.
or their parents, who remember only too well the taste of the slight panic on their tongues (and probably still have math test 1 nightmares to this day), exam day can be just as stressful. And when it comes to guessing the fine line between motivating and annoying, things can get very tricky at home.
Paul Gilligan, CEO of St. Patrick’s Mental Health Services, says: “Every young person deals with this life event differently… Unfortunately it is not possible to offer advice that will be right for every individual, but we know that this research Many young people and their parents can cause fear.”
Psychologist David Carey observes, “If you have one of those kids who excels in exams, that’s a wonderful thing, but with others who are better at freethinking, you need to help them understand that they’re adapting a little to the societal Standard must hold, in this case tests.
“But ultimately, it’s about reminding them to do their best and focus on the efforts made.”
1. Only speak when spoken to
According to Carey, most parents would do well to just keep calm and move on. Hammering in the idea that exams are the most important event in a young person’s life is… well, a bit ill-advised.
“The one thing you don’t do as a parent (during exam week) is step in and keep asking if they’re studying because it only increases their anxiety,” he says. “The vast majority of young people then learn how their own brain works. And motivating your children to study should have started well before this week.”
For Beatrice Dooley, vice president of the Institute of Guidance Counselors, silence is indeed golden.
“As a parent, you’ve passed the Leaving Cert, you know everything, you’re older, wiser and your kid should listen to you, right? Wrong,” she says.
“The question of when to help is easy to answer – only if you ask for it, otherwise you will quickly return from the stage. My advice is to only speak up when spoken to over the next few weeks. Listen to your offspring, even when they are silent. Say supportive things like, “I see, this must be really difficult for you. I understand what you’re saying. Would you like a cup of tea?” And then let’s go. Things like slamming doors, mumbling, swearing, swearing, dirty looks, eye rolling, erratic mood swings, and staring into space can be (overlooked).”
2. Focus on practical aspects
Rather than imparting their own wisdom on the exam, parents can offer support during the exam period in a much more practical way.
“Your job as a parent is to hide your fear, not project it onto it,” notes StudySkillsIreland.com’s Enda O’Doherty.
“Be the rock and the support and say things like, ‘I’m so proud of you. Keep up the good work.’ Don’t be the one to initiate autopsies on exam day. On a more practical level, drive your child to the exam on time (and have a plan B in case of diversions) and offer them the meals you know about during exam week that they like her, almost as a small reward.”
David Duffy, Teachers’ Union of Ireland Education and Research Officer, adds: “A certain level of exam stress is inevitable and can be useful in spurring you on to perform at your best. B. Insomnia or excitement, then students and parents/guardians should talk to each other.
“A student’s simple act of telling people how they’re feeling can often go a long way in relieving the pressure.”
3. Encourage breaks
Taking a breather during the review is the best way to ensure students don’t feel overwhelmed.
“Typically five minutes every 35 minutes, or alternatively 10 minutes every hour,” says David Duffy. “Trying to plow through material without a break leads to lack of concentration.”
Mindfulness is a simple and immediate way to ensure teens don’t feel overwhelmed by trials. Relaxation exercises can be as simple as sitting comfortably, closing your eyes, clenching your fists while taking a deep breath, and then very slowly releasing your breath and hands.
“As teachers, we’re starting to talk to children about wellbeing and mindfulness, and parents need to know that too,” says Aine Devlin, co-founder of examrevision.ie.
“I think it’s a really good way not to focus on the exams all the time to boost confidence. As a parent, talk to them about the small goals they have set. Just that sense of satisfaction will help them feel like they’re on the right track.”
4. Bedtime reminders
“Parents also need to be supportive of how much sleep their child gets,” adds Devlin.
“A lot of parents tell their kids to go to bed and they say, ‘But I have to study! Why are you telling me to stop studying?’ But it is the parent’s responsibility to ensure that the student goes to bed at a reasonable time and that the internet and devices are turned off 20 minutes before bedtime.”
5. Lead by example
Far from cramming a student into their bedroom in isolation, keeping the lines of communication open is hugely important.
“As the students get more stressed and tense, we’ll find that we have less patience than usual, their fuse is shorter, and they get upset more easily,” observes Gilligan. “This is a completely normal reaction to the pressure and fear of such a big event. As a parent, make sure your child knows you love them.”
Ultimately, a more relaxed approach to exams as a parent is a great way to lead by example. This way, students are more likely to let go of stress, anxiety, and fear.
“Exams have been hyped up as a defining moment so much,” notes Carey. “I’m not denying that exams have some importance in a person’s life, but nobody really asks when you leave college how you ever did on school exams.
“We might think it’s being hyped to the level of national obsession, but exam performance has nothing to do with how happy or well-adjusted children are, or how valuable people are as contributing members of society.”
Beatrice Dooley’s tips for students
* If you are… the perfectionist: “Remember that the Leaving Cert is just a stepping stone to the next level, you only need to earn the credits you need and meet specific and minimal professional requirements for the course of your choice. Try to enjoy the experience, take the exam, and after all that hard work, show off all your knowledge.”
* If you are… the achiever: “Think about time management. Is there a topic that you spend a lot of time on, to the detriment of others? For example, every night do you spend an hour on a topic and three hours on it? the other six total? You have so much information in your head that the biggest danger is getting lost in the details.”
* If you are… the Grafter: “Do you know that personality and emotional intelligence are extremely important success factors in the workplace, let alone in life? Don’t be afraid to let your personality shine through in your answers.”
* If you’re… the anxious student: “Anytime you’re worried, say ‘DELETE’. Imagine you are going to the exam, feeling good, slept well and confident. Try to stay present. Instead of worrying about things that haven’t happened yet, focus on what is actually happening.”
https://www.independent.ie/life/family/parenting/leaving-cert-2022-five-expert-tips-to-successfully-guide-your-teenager-through-exams-36978457.html Leaving Cert 2022: Five expert tips to get your teen through exams successfully