We all know the familiar feeling leading up to a big exam; a fluttery tummy and sleepless nights. The 11+ exam can be an unpleasant time for your child as it is such a big part of school life, and unfortunately exams and nerves seem to come hand in hand. Your child needs all the support and motivation they can get, so here is our advice on how to handle the lead up to the big day.
Eating A Healthy Diet
Although a balanced diet is important all year round, it can be a big factor in helping your child feel energised and focused during exam time. Things like sugary snacks and fast food are likely to leave your child feeling sluggish and irritable, far from ideal when their mind needs to be on top form! Snacking on protein-rich foods such as yoghurt, dried fruit and egg are known to improve memory retention and energy levels.
Plenty of Rest
As with a good diet, a good night’s sleep is another key factor in concentration. During the run up to an exam, you may find your child is struggling to sleep due to all the revision and worry running through their mind. Allocate an hour or so before bedtime for relaxing. Reading a book or even watching their favourite TV show will help relax their mind and switch off for the evening.
Slow and Steady
Although time may be running out before the day of the 11+, cramming in last-minute revision is never a good idea. Stressing out and trying to take in more than you can handle will not allow the brain to absorb information. Stick to your revision schedule and continue learning at a manageable pace in chunks of 30-60 minutes at a time. Practicing mock papers under exam conditions will make the big day feel less daunting, make sure you have worked through at least a couple of these!
Talk About It
It is perfectly normal to feel anxious during this time, so make your child aware of your support and understanding. Pushy parents can only make the situation worse, cramming in revision and adding more pressure is likely to have damaging results. Reassure your child that their nerves are natural, the exam is a time for them to showcase all of their knowledge rather than put them to the test.
Don’t Cut Out Fun!
Although exam period often means more studying than normal, too much of this can may lead to your child feeling stressed out. Get them out of the house and staying active – going for a bike ride or playing football with their friends will be a great chance to relax and have a well-earned break.
How about encouraging your child with a post-exam celebration to say a big well done for all of their hard work? A family picnic in the park or movie night will be a great way to wind down after exams are over.
We hope these tips help you and your child remain as calm as possible leading up to the 11+ exam. We have plenty of online revision material available on our website, feel free to get in touch and we will be more than happy to guide you during this busy time!