In these strange circumstances, studying can prove much more difficult than normal and we're here to give you some top tips and advice on how to help your teens revise.
The most important thing is truly to remember that we are living in really odd times and that your teens might not be in the right headspace to get stuck into some serious revision - and that's ok! Taking it little by little, soaking in information in ways that feel natural and breaking things down into smaller, more manageable chunks is key.
Whether you've got teens sitting exams, revising for projects or generally doing some studying, these top 9 revision tips are here to guide you and your children through this time. We believe in you!
1) Stay positive and optimistic
Everyone knows that things can get a little stressful around exam season and even when you aren’t under pressure for deadlines. Of course, it’s easier said than done but it’s super important to keep positive and optimistic. There’s no point in talking in negatives and ultimately, even if you are worried about something, that’s not going to change it, so why worry in the first place? Our top tip for keeping calm and collected during revision is to encourage your children to take it slow and remind them that they can only do their best! Take it in small, manageable chunks and make sure to reward yourself as you go along - you can do this!
2) Keep snacks on the go
People, especially teens often forget that keeping your body energised as well as your brain is super important! Plus, everyone knows that it’s more difficult to work with a rumbling tummy… Have the kettle boiled at all times and keep a range of healthy snacks on the go. Foods that are high in Omega 3 including nuts, seeds and edamame are super yummy snacks and are great for fuelling the brain. And as the weather heats up, your kids are bound to want snacks that are a little cooler - check out our blog here for great homemade frozen treats and snacks that are easy to make and healthy!
3) Work the space
Given the current lockdown measures in place, we realise that it’s not as easy as popping to the library or a friends house to get some revision done - and that’s exactly why it’s important to work the space! We suggest that your teens decide on a room or a corner and designate that specific spot as their ‘workplace’, that way your teens will have associated that spot with working and therefore be more productive - win, win! If you’re looking for some more advice on creating the perfect home study space, take a look at our blog here. Saying this, it’s also super important to switch up their workspaces once in a while, or if it’s a particularly sunny day, there’s no problem with heading outside to work!
4) Timetabling and time management
Learning the art of timetabling and time management is key for teenagers but no easy feat (in other words, don’t be too hard on yourself). We recommend starting by creating a master to-do list - this means making a list of every single thing you want to do over the course of the week. You can even split the tasks up into categories if you like - for example, ‘school’, ‘home’ and ‘other’. After you’ve got your master to-do list, we suggest colour coding it according to priority - red for high priority and green for low priority, that way it becomes clearer in your head. Once you’ve got your priorities in order, allocate specific days and time slots for when you’d like to work on the task, making sure to leave yourself adequate breaks and you time. Then you’re all set!
5) Breaks are just as important as work
Speaking of timetabling and time management, ensure that your teens are scheduling plenty of time for breaks as well! We recommend doing 45 minutes of work and then taking a 15-minute break - that way, your brain has time to rest and then re-energise. And we know how tempting it can be to check our phones or watch TV whilst on a break but how about taking a walk outside, getting some exercise or making a cup of tea? Then you should remain focused and in a good headspace to get back into revision again.
6) Learn what works for your child
With so many revision techniques out there, it’s important to know what works for your teen. We suggest finding out what kind of learner your teen is - visual, audio or kinaesthetic which can be achieved by a simple online test here. From this, you should be able to determine the most effective way of revision and studying; whether it be reciting notes out loud, listening to video summaries or physically drawing mind maps, you’re bound to find what works for you.
7) Mix it up!
Whether your teen(s) is revising for upcoming exams, projects or just in general, it’s always good to mix things up a little. Everyone knows that staring at the same blank page over and over again can get pretty tiresome and mixing up your workspace, the general content of your revision, and the methods that you choose to revise is proven to have huge benefits. For example, if your teen is focusing on Maths the entire day, it might be a good idea to focus on English the next - that way, it switches things up and keeps it super interesting and engaging.
8) Remove all distractions
Living in an age of social media has its ups and downs. Whilst there are some fantastic platforms and apps available at the touch of a button, this makes it all too easy for distractions - we’re all guilty of it! We recommend putting any devices or phones in a basket away from the workspace and switching them off, then once the work is complete, they can be switched back on! The Forest app is also particularly good for teenagers - it allows you to set timers for work and disables your phone whilst the timer is running. Plus, when you’ve racked up enough study time you could be the one to help plant real trees - how cool is that?
9) Don’t put too much pressure on yourself!
It’s all too easy to get sucked into exam pressures and feel like revision is the be-all and end-all when truthfully it really isn’t! Times like these make us appreciate how important and special life really is and shows us what really matters. If your kids are getting a little anxious or frustrated, simply remind them of what really matters in life and let them know that they are doing their absolute best in the circumstances!
Ellie is a keen Londoner, thespian and foodie! She's the oldest of three and loves taking her younger siblings, aged nine and fourteen, on adventures to the theatre and food markets, trying new foods and dabbling in the world of musical theatre. Some of her favourite spots include Primrose Hill and the Natural History Museum, not to mention the ever-changing Spitalfields Market.