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Passing the stress test; Exam guide for parents.

Byline: joan mcfadden

WITH exams looming, this is the worst time for students. They are desperate for more time to study but equally keen just to get it all started and over with.

For parents, it's hard avoiding the temptation to moan about wasted hours or to be too hearty in encouragement.

Together, it's a pretty explosive mix. But it's up to the adults to stay kind and calm because this is not the time for recriminations.

It's up to mums and dads to inspire confidence that all is not lost. Start by asking them how you can help and talk them through the different

subjects.

The SQA website - www.sqa.org.uk - is a great resource. It's packed with advice, helpful hints and past papers. If you're unsure about your child's subjects, it's worth a look so you feel more familiar with what they have to achieve.

Make sure they have covered every aspect of the course and feel reasonably confident about them.

And if they have any doubts, encourage them to see the relevant teacher who will be happy to help right up to the last minute.

Even at this stage, it's worth considering a couple of hours private tuition. That one-to-one approach can inspire much-needed confidence in their own abilities. Speak to the school if you're considering this.

Working out the actual amount of hours available to study is always a good plan, as it can makes them realise there is still time to gain the extra few marks which will see them managing to go up a grade.

No matter how keen they are to get through eight hours' work a day, it isn't easy to sustain that level of study without lots of sleep, a good diet and regular breaks.

Schools will help them with study plans and often offer vital extras such as supported study. Encourage them to take all the help available.

Accept that exams, education, and revision techniques have all changed so don't inflict your own changes on study plans they have agreed with teachers.

Regular breaks are encouraged and some teenagers do study better with music in the background so try to leave them to it. Persuade them not to stay up too late studying the night before an exam but if they are panicking, promise that you'll wake them early to go over a few notes and make sure you do.

Make sure they organise any required equipment the night before and suggest a carbohydrate based snack and milky drink before bedtime, avoiding fizzy drinks and any junk food which will give a very unhelpful sugar rush before bed.

On the day, encourage some breakfast, even if it's just fruit and yoghurt and remember that a drink is a must, as dehydration can affect performance badly.

Treat all panic with reassurance and practical help, such as a lift to school or 10 minutes going over key points. Then wish them luck, smile encouragingly and be ready to do it all again for the next one.

CHECKLIST FOR STUDENTS? LOG on to the SQA website for the exam timetable and details of what's needed for each exam - www.sqa.org.uk - and double-check with your school so you know which exams you're sitting, where they are and when they start. Be ready to enter the exam room at least 10 minutes before the exam.

. ? Make sure you know whether you'll have to bring any equipment with you (pens, pencils, calculator, and so on). You must not share any of your equipment with anyone else.

. ? If you are taking any exams that involve an objective test, also known as multiple choice - these are usually in science subjects such as Higher Biology and in Higher Maths - you will need an HB pencil to indicate your answers. It has to be HB so the SQA can scan the paper. You'll also need an eraser.

Tips for teens coping with exam stress 1 DON'T know where to begin? Make a list of everything to be done and break it into manageable chunks, with regular breaks.

2 TOO little time left for everything? List every part of the course and if you're unsure about any of it ask your teacher for guidance.

3 CAN'T remember it? As you are reading, match up information with your own examples and write things down as an aid to memory.

4 NOT sure you understand it? Test yourself. Make up questions about key sections and get a parent to ask you.

5 TOO much to remember? Use techniques that help you organise information, such as writing chapter outlines, grouping information into categories or drawing up a matrix to organise material.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:May 10, 2011
Words:780
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