How to support your child through Year 12 exams

As the end of the month draws near, so too do the end of year exams and stressful times for many Year 12 students and their parents. While many parents will be trying to help their children do as well as they can, it is important to remember that Year 12 exams should be an exercise in independence — a chance for them to take control of their studies. This is what makes it so rewarding. The best thing you can do for your child is to be supportive rather than overbearing. It is important to discuss with your child how they would like you to support them and not overstep the mark.

Six ways you can support your child:

  1. Discuss your child’s goals: It will be helpful to discuss what your child’s ultimate goals are before the exams commence. This will allow you to gain some realistic expectations and will help you both get an accurate idea of how much work needs to be put in to achieve their goal. Also ask them how they would like you to support them to achieve their goals, so you know how much assistance they require from you.
  2. Help your child set some boundaries: Many students find that they cannot get into the right frame of mind to successfully complete their exams with distractions such as social events and Facebook. Once you have discussed your child’s goals for their exams, you can also assist them to set some boundaries and establish whether they require any assistance. It might be as simple as them asking you to set a new Facebook password for them that isn’t revealed until after the exams are finished.
  3. Encourage your child to teach you: One of the best ways to cement a topic in your head is by teaching it to others, and this method provides a really simple and effective way of helping your child to master curriculum content. By encouraging your child to teach you about a particular topic, you will be helping them to revise in way that is (hopefully) engaging for both of you.
  4. Time your child during practice exams: Once students have the key curriculum content mastered, exam time management is an area that can let them down. You can help your child to adjust to exam timing conditions by performing the role of adjudicator as they complete practice exams downloaded from the Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority (VCAA), or Queensland Studies Authority websites. All you need to do is let your child know when reading time begins and ends, announce how much time is left at designated intervals and let them know when pens need to be put down.
  5. Be there when your child needs a break: The pressure of seemingly life-altering exams pushes many students to breaking point, so any assistance you can give your child to find a positive balance between study and relaxation will be helpful. Giving your child a wake-up call at a pre-arranged time; planning a daily study schedule; bringing them a snack for a 15 minute break every couple of hours; encouraging them to relax during the evening if they have been studying hard all day; and getting them outside the house for a break if the pressure becomes too much are all good ways that you can assist.
  6. Don't forget the exam day essentials: Make sure you child is well rested, well fed, prepared with the correct equipment and at the exam venue on time. Help them to feel motivated and confident with some words of encouragement.

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