Exam Season: 5 Ways to be a Supportive Parent

CXC Examinations are just mere weeks away and many of us may be either parent, guardian or
even mentor to a teenager who is writing these exams come May. However, we all know that
preparation for these exams begin well before the actual exam and for many students,
preparation for such an important exam can become particularly overwhelming. During my
experience as both a CSEC and CAPE teacher, I’ve noticed that many students who are
adequately prepared for the exam can do so because they have a strong support system at home.
So, here’s five ways you can be a supportive parent to you child or children that’s preparing for

1. Be Reassuring
We can all remember what it felt like to be a Form Five or Six student preparing for exams.
Everyone at school, home and even in your neighbourhood had high expectations of you and for
some this may be motivating, but for others, the pressure can become too overwhelming.
Therefore, you must remember that the exam is more about them than you so you must
continuously ensure that they know regardless of the outcome, you will be proud of them so long
as they put their best foot forward.

2. Assist with Studying
There is no ‘one size fits all’ method when it comes to studying so you must understand your
child’s specific needs and their strengths and weaknesses and use that as a basis to help with
studying and revision. You can also help them to create a study plan or schedule or check work
when they ask. Another great way is to allow them to teach you topics that they have learnt in
class which will help them to understand the information more critically and this helps them to
develop application skills that are necessary for exam success.

3. Encourage Self-care
It is paramount for a student preparing for examination to maintain sound body and mind; but
when it gets closer to exams, the stress or anxiety may cause some students to disregard proper
self-care. Poor eating habits can affect the way we feel, think and behave. Therefore, you should ensure that your child consumes a healthy diet and engages in physical activities. It is also
important to allow the occasional fast-food so that they do not feel too restricted.

4. Establish a Balance
A student recently shared with me that they felt it necessary to study all day. This sentiment is
shared by many students but the old saying still applies; “All work and no play makes Jack a dull
boy”. So once your child has established an effective study routine, let them stick to it and allow
them time to enjoy leisure and other extra-curricular activities. You can also give them a nice
treat such as carrying them out to see a movie or any activity they enjoy. This is a great way to
bond with them and to let them know that it’s okay to take a break.

5. Be Positive
Optimism goes a long way for a student preparing for exams. Set realistic goals for your child
and be hopeful that they will achieve or even surpass those goals. Positive energy at home can
serve as a motivator to your student throughout exam prep and most importantly, on exam day.
Yes, we are only human so we can’t help but think about the negative sometimes; but regardless
of your child’s shortcomings, it will only do them harm if you focus on the negative and project
your fears onto them.

Us teachers understand that you just want your child to succeed so pay attention to your child
and you’ll soon realize the importance of your support. Oh, and when you do, think about how
these tips can be used. “Behind every child who believes in himself is a parent who believed
first.” – Matthew Jacobson.

-Nkese John