Exams!! Argh!!

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Working with teenagers is draining! As any teacher will tell you

Living with teenagers is draining! As any parent will tell you

But, we often don’t consider what it’s like BEING a teenager. Yes we were all one once whatever that means to us but we’re not one now.

We may remember the flush of our cheeks and the dry mouth as we discovered our first love. We also remember with fondness the simplicity of being young with not a care in the World. What we often don’t remember was our struggle to navigate the World and do exams at the same time!

I have often said that whoever decided that putting a 15/16 year old through exams lasting anything from 30 minutes to 5 hours is cruel or mad.

Add to this the fact that they have been told for the last two years that these are the most important exams of their lives and things become a little tense.

Read my blog about anxiety for more info

But don’t forget the vital ingredient here too, it’s hay fever season!!! If you suffer with hay fever I don’t need to say another word.

The list of “againsts” goes on. Let’s add lack of sleep for a teenager who should be getting at least 9 hours of sleep per night, crowd hysteria when teenagers are gathering before an exam, feelings of inadequacy afterwards when they hear from a friend they’ve flunked a question, boyfriend / girlfriend issues…

As educators and parents we can help to ease some of the suffering. Here are my top tips…

#1 Your best IS good enough

Too many teenagers who talk to me don’t realise that their parents and teachers only want the best for them. Change your language from “I think you should be getting a Grade 7 in English” to “You’re brilliant at English and you enjoy it, try and enjoy the exam and do your best”

Oh, and the World will not stop spinning if you don’t get what you think you should!

#2 Ensure surroundings are calm

Parents – help your teenager to structure their revision with built in breaks and a cut off time. All night cramming isn’t going to work!

Make them a soothing drink or snack and settle down with them in the evening for an hour before bed. You could even explore some sleep apps.

Educators – passing exams is not just about knowledge, it’s about wellness too. Look at integrating some breathing techniques into revision sessions and how about leading a group breathing exercise before the exam?

Read my blog about breathing techniques for more info

#3 Have a little patience

Wise words from Mr Gary Barlow! Enough said!

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