Updated: Oct 19, 2021
It’s now known that children in England are some of the most heavily tested in the world, and this includes GCSEs. Whilst this does produce some of the best creators and innovators in the world, it can also lead to a great deal of stress at a young age.
Outside of the 9am to 3pm, it falls on parents to support their child's education. This is why helping your child revise and prepare for their GCSEs can make a huge amount of difference for their future.
So how can you help your child revise for their GCSEs?
5 ways you can help your child revise for GCSEs:
Start planning their learning early
Discover how they like to learn
Support their diet and therefore their brain
Create a dedicated study space
Encourage and organise breaks
1. Start Planning Early
“It’s HOW LONG until your first exam?” - we’ve all been there. The term feels like it’s just begun and the first round of exams and coursework are just around the corner, and you need to cancel family plans to make time. This doesn’t need to be the case.
The fact is: those who start early often gain better grades and do so happier and with less stress. Why? Because revising little and often has a proven track record of improving results, because it's how the brain likes to learn.
There are two actions which I would recommend completing after week one of term:
Learn which subjects your child is most/least confident with to help prioritise learning
Create a revision timetable and pin it up on the wall
Soon positive habits will form and a routine will fit in, allowing your child to confidently stride through those GCSE exams.
2. Discover how your child likes to learn
When I was in school, I would visit friends houses and see flash cards stuck to the cupboards, walls and doors - it confused me because I never understood how they could possibly learn that way. This is because everyone learns differently.
So when you’re at the planning stage of your child's GCSE revision, answer the following questions:
Does your child like learning with someone else (friend or GCSE tutor) or on their own?
Do they find going through past papers useful?
Are they confident learning from textbooks?
These questions will help structure your child's revision and make the most of the time they have set aside to study.
3. Support their diet
… and therefore their brain. The body and mind are connected in more ways than we know. Having a balanced diet has a measurable impact on how well your child can learn, memorise and energise.
Here are the brain foods to look out for:
Omega 3 to support cognitive function - oily fish, flax seeds and walnuts.
Antioxidants to support heart and brain health - berries, tomatoes, green tea, dark chocolate.
Dopamine foods to increase motivation and energy - ripe bananas and sunflower seeds.
Water - it's a known fact we all don't drink enough water.
Integrating the foods above work perfectly with a steady long-term revision schedule, ensuring the brain is operating optimally and making revision sessions as productive as possible.
4. Create a study space
Now I appreciate this tip can be limited by space and household income but there are changes every household can make to provide a space which your child associates with focus and growth.
Try to provide one or more of the following:
A separate room - a spare room or study with a desk.
Storage boxes - to store textbooks and notes as opposed to leaving them out.
Natural light - offers a measurable improvement in motivation.
Clutter free space - clutter now has a measurable impact on focus and motivation.
Dedicated desk - and it doesn’t need to be huge or brand new.
Again, don’t feel pressured to have to provide all of the steps above, one or two can help create those positive learning habits for your child.
5. Organise and plan breaks
Easily forgotten and absolutely pivotal. Let's be clear, we’re talking about two types of breaks here:
Microbreaks - these 5 to 10 minute breaks should be taken at least for every hour of study.
Holidays - Weeks, weekends or simply a day out.
Essentially a happy brain is a learning brain. Breaks which allow space to think, relax and adventure have a measurable impact on mental health and therefore learning capacity and focus for your child.
Just like ripe bananas and sunflower seeds, time in nature has a measurable impact on improving mental health and wellbeing. Your child will therefore be able to remember more, study smarter and enjoy their teenage years all at the same time.
It’s our purpose to empower children and young people to be more confident in their learning and I hope this blog has helped your child achieve exactly that.
Written by Aled Nelmes for GCSE Masterclass.