Dealing with anxiety and exams

It’s normal to feel some anxiety before any big event including exams.
As we approach the exam period it seems that every year parents and schools are still tackling anxiety and stress caused by exams.

Whether it’s SATs, GCSEs or A levels here are a few tips to support your child throughout the exam period.
1. Reassurance and positivity from parents is essential. Often it’s parents anxieties that are absorbed by their children. Reassure your child that everything is okay during this time.
2. Use rewards and take time out from study. Children can often become isolated at this time, encourage them to meet up with friends and maintain a social balance as well as revision time.
3. Get children to create a timetable, which includes downtime, treats and fun in addition to study time. Help them with this too, this will show your interested and supporting them during this time.
4. During the exam period, continue to have communication with school and your child. If you’re worried speak to your child and school. If you’re not, continue to stay in touch and find out about additional support available for your child and you as a parent.
5. It’s imperative to all productivity and focus that your child eats and sleeps well. A balanced diet and plenty of sleep is essential for your child’s health to ensure good focus and concentration.


Times Tables Tips

Times tables are the basis of most Maths. It’s important that Times tables are secure to ensure that other maths problems are easier to tackle. It’s never too early to

  1. Little and often – start with the easy ones and practice starting with one or two a day.
  2.  Practice every day -at home, in the car, on the computer. Even if it’s just counting in 2’s, 10’s or 5’s to remember what appears in the times tables.
  3.  Use different methods – games, apps and competitions.
  4.  Learn the tricks and tips to make them easier to learn.
  5. Look at the pattern of the numbers – add zeros to the number to make the 10 times tables.

Very useful websites


Reading tips

Reading is essential for a child’s success. The barriers children face with difficulty reading often outweigh their desire to read. Without guidance, support and confidence they never overcome them.
Learning to read is a sequential process; each new skill builds on the mastery of previously learned skills.

Top Tips
Visit the library – make reading a part of your routine.
Read everyday. Whether reading becomes a habit children will enjoy it and know its part of their daily routine.
Attend reading events, libraries, book shops and schools hold many different, often free events.
Take part in reading challenges. Reward your child for reading.
Read with your child. Regardless of your child’s age, children feel great when their parent listens to them read.
Read different materials. Newspapers, magazines are just as good as books so expand your reading materials to gain even more knowledge.
Try reading apps such as reading eggs, endless reader and story kit.


Eleven plus top tips

If your child is in Year 5 then you have approximately 6 months to get them ready for the exam.
If you have a tutor that’s great, but it isn’t enough. A tutor is just one route to success. Home learning and parental support are imperative to your child’s success. Preparing at home using books will support your child.
Here are a few things that will support your child in passing the exam and prepare for grammar school.

1. Practice – there are many books on the market with practice materials that support the English/Maths curriculum and are ideal for supporting your child before the exam. Many have timed practice from 10 minutes. These are perfect for home study, encouraging independence and very easy for parents to monitor each day.
2. Planning – make a plan and stick to it. If your child has a clear structure it will become habit. In addition to preparing for the entrance exam they will also be prepared for the grammar school expectations and workload. A little bit every day will help your child retain what they have learnt.
3. Develop a wide vocabulary – spellings, a wide vocabulary and good comprehension skills are essential. Reading a wide range of genres, crosswords and word searches will develop these skills.
4. Time tables – these need to be solid. Practice them and ensure your child is as confident with harder times tables as they are the easier ones.
5. Is grammar school right for YOUR child? Remember selective schools are not for everyone. Think about the distance to school and how this will fit in with family life and your child’s extra curricular activities.

Useful websites


Parental support

Parental support is so important in your child’s achievement. Whether they are doing gymnastics, football or preparing for the 11+ exam.
Home learning and pupil independence is extremely important for the preparation of any exam, the transition into secondary school and educational success. It is extremely important for children to start reading good quality books with an adult and identify new words and answer questions related to the text.
Reading and spelling will increase your child’s vocabulary. Encourage your child to practice using these in context (writing sentences and conversation).
The English section of the exam is largely vocabulary based and having a wide vocabulary helps children tackle most verbal reasoning questions effectively.
Within maths ensure your child is confident in the following:
– times tables up to at least 12
– square numbers to at least 12 squared
– basic percentage, fraction and decimal equivalents half=0.5=50%
Set your child personal targets and individual goals for your child based on their strengths and areas for development.
This will help your child to progress at school and help to prepare them for the 11+ exam.
Ensure your child is learning everyday. It doesn’t have to be a test on a table, learning can take place in many forms.
Try apps on phones and iPads, practice maths through board games and card games. There are many fun learning work books that encourage children to work at home and help children to improve independence and develop a regular learning habit.

Just to recap
Reading – make reading an every day habit.
Comprehension- ensure your child understands what they read including the vocabulary used.
Timed tasks – activity books will help test your child from as little as 10 minute sessions. The exam will include many questions to practice in a short time, so speed and accuracy is really important.
Mental maths – mental maths can be done anywhere, in the car, on the train etc.
Study timetable – you and your child can create a timetable to keep track of their learning

Useful websites

Useful book brands providing 11+ practice material.