Lucie is 14 years old and currently in year 10 at school, most of her evenings are spent with her head in a book (her choice) and because of her sheer determination to succeed she has excellent predicted grades at GCSE level. At the start of term in September this year Lucie was in panic mode, her scores were good but not what she wanted and she has worked so hard to improve her grades meaning she has jumped from a C to an A* in some subjects. Last week was parents evening and every teacher we visited said the same thing to me, they could tell that Lucie was passionate about the subjects she was learning and they also knew that she was doing a lot of reading and practise at home.
It won’t be too long before mock exam season will be upon us and Lucie will be locked in her room cramming into the small hours, it’s going to be hard enough for her with a toddler in the house!
Lucie finds that having a revision timetable helps especially when you have lots of important tests that fall around the same time and uses a white board for this so things can be easily erased and changed.
Making flash cards work for her as a revision technique, but her favourite revision method is to do practice papers, she has them for each of her subjects and although I can’t always mark them as accurately as a teacher could it gives her a good idea about how well she has done.
Research has shown that shorter 20-30 minute spells work best because a person’s concentration levels are higher; this coupled with exercise – even just a short jog – and making sure your kids find the right balance between study and leisure can all help in achieving top marks. Lucie does regular exercise outside of school including jogging and Zumba which she enjoys and will continue with during her exams, it allows her to get out of the house and not only improve her fitness but socialise with her friends.
But what else should students take into consideration when it comes to effective revision?
Recent research from malt loaf makers Soreen has shown that being hungry can affect a person’s ability to make decisions and concentrate. Clinical trials carried out as part of the study showed that hungry participants were twice as likely to make the wrong decision compared to participants who had eaten.
The research also found that hunger pangs can significantly increase feelings of irritation and anger, which can adversely affect concentration. This shows just how important it is to ensure that your kids are fuelled during this time.
Regular snacks consisting of a slow release carbohydrate will keep glucose levels in the brain from plummeting, which impacts negatively on concentration. By combining the snack with some good quality protein you can slow the release of the carbohydrate and ensure the brain is working as efficiently as it can.
Lucie is really bad for skipping meals especially when she is busy or engrossed in something like homework projects, she has recently told me that she would prefer to have a selection of snacks in Tupperware boxes brought up to her room such as mixed seeds, dried fruit, nuts and flapjacks which will hopefully keep her energy up.
The video below has some top tips from Dr Christy Fergusson on how to make sure your kids are in the zone when it comes to studying.