The exam period is undoubtedly one of the most stressful times on our children’s higher education calendar. Throw in a global pandemic, as well as widespread lockdowns and our kids have themselves caught up in a really challenging (and strange) learning environment web that’s good one minute, and seemingly terrible the next.
COVID-19 has forced us all to adjust how we work, the way in which we learn, live, socialise, and so on. And for the most part, we have all learned to adapt to the new normal and go about our day-to-day tasks.
But when your child’s exam period fast approaches, it may seem like the effects of the remote learning environment catches up to them. They’re increasingly stressed and perhaps they’re a little more irritable than they typically would be during any other exam period — the high-stakes nature of university exams really shines a light on the individual and their approach to preparation.
Remote learning (by default) equals study in isolation, and for some, the sheer pressure of it all can be daunting. Some students have found comfort in running collaborative Zoom study sessions, and others prefer to go at it alone.
And given not all states and territories have been in lockdown for as long as others (namely Victoria and New South Wales have felt the pinch the most), so this year’s exam period may just feel like any other (say, if you’re from Western Australia, where COVID may not have had much of an impact on life at all — lucky you!)
Nonetheless, helping your child through their exam period will ensure they set themselves up for a successful study and preparation period. And the peripheral benefits will be felt around the household — you’ll have a calm, more deeply prepared child asking you what’s for dinner and you can’t put a price on that!
So, to help you help your child, we’ve put together a set of tips to enable an environment that allows them to thrive during this exam period.
Foster an environment that promotes study health
Having a dedicated space to study will be beneficial to your child during the lead up to exams. A study space that is quiet, stocked with stationery, and separate to other rooms in the house will make a world of difference to motivation (and productivity) levels.
If you don’t have the space in your home, get creative with what you can do to help isolate your child’s study area from the busiest rooms or even give them the agency to suggest their preferred study space.
Don’t micromanage their study habits
Everybody studies differently — what may work for some, will not be as effective for others, so be mindful not to judge how (and when) your child approaches their study. There is no one-size-fits-all way to get exam ready, so trust that your child has their preparation and study notes under control.
Naturally, if you notice extra-curricular activities are taking up too much time and there is an obvious discrepancy between study and play, then step in and suggest some adjustments. Otherwise, let your child take full accountability for their study.
Frequently offer an ear for your child to vent and seek out advice
To be a soundboard means to be a golden resource during your child’s exam period. Give them the opportunity to chat about their concerns and the things that are unsettling them without judgement. Withhold from telling them what you think, and reserve that for another conversation. Sometimes all they might need is a little venting time, especially during exam period.
Be reassuring about the post exam period
The high-stakes nature of exams can be a cause for stress, anxiety, and worry about what the future holds. While exams are an important checkpoint along your child’s higher education journey, they don’t define their academic position, or in fact, their future. By reassuring your child to not get caught up in results-based thinking will help to put things in perspective and provide a clearer view of life after exams.
Discover the tools and resources required to succeed this exam period