‘I’m just no good at this subject’

There is a strong correlation between the amount of hours somebody studies and how ‘smart’ they are. Quite simply, people who work harder do better.

As we are approaching external exams it is even more important, although all students need to work consistently and take a 5 year approach to GCSEs if they are going to get the best possible outcomes.

Students might be keen to blame their own ability for not getting good grades, but actually it is more likely to be the amount of effort they put in. They need to work hard to get good grades. They are competing for jobs against the whole world, not just their friend in class.

What can parents do to help?

Whilst students might appear quite grown up as they get into the older year groups, they still need support. They often do not fully appreciate the consequences of getting lower grades in their exams, so it really isn’t fair to say that it is ‘up to them’ if you could make a difference to them getting a better job in the future.

Ask your children to tell you about what they have studied or what they have found interesting. Sometimes teenagers are not overly excited about having a long conversation but showing an interest is important.

When students have got exams test them. You can test them on key words or ask them to tell you about something, it doesn’t matter if you don’t know much about the subject, and your help will still be invaluable. I remember testing my son in German and Russian as he moved through his education, I do not speak either language but testing his vocabulary and asking him to tell me about the topics he was studying helped him.

Help your son/daughters to plan revision time. If they look at when their exams are and work backwards to build an exam timetable, remind them to stick to it and build in rewards, these do not have to be expensive, they can be time on a games console or a favourite meal for example. Students need to get into the mind-set of working hard at home and rewards, even small ones really help.

Try to ensure that work time is quality work time. Ensure that there are no distractions, like phones for the time that they are working. It is better to do an hour’s solid work than 3 hours of ‘messing about’ with a few minutes here and there and the rest of the time checking FB etc. It is much better to get the work done and ‘earn’ some free time afterwards.

The pastoral team are conducting some detailed questionnaires with students to try and help them revise more effectively. I shall share the outcomes and what we are going to do to help with you.

Finally please pray for our students and encourage them to pray too. It is so good in times of difficulty and stress to be still and know that God is there for them too. Exams are important and need to be taken seriously but with the support and care of parents, staff and the love of God we can achieve great things together.

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