Exam time for the ‘digital generation’:
Final year exams are upon us. Here are some tips for managing exam time in your household.
Date: October 12 2012
Tomorrow’s a big day for many young people around the country.
It’s the first day of final year school exams and it also heralds the first of the generation that has lived most of their formative years in the 21st century. They are truly ‘digital kids’ who have experienced a seismic shift - not so much what is taught and learned, but how it’s done. Most parents wouldn’t recognise the classroom of today compared with what we had.
The good news is our teenagers will also be the best educated generation than ever before, with more than 70 per cent of those finishing school continuing to some form of further education and training.
In the meantime, there’s exams to get through. We’ve put together some ‘been there and done that’ tips from parents and recent students to help your family get through the next few weeks. Best wishes to all!
Get the basics right first
1. Make sure they eat regular, balanced meals. This should include breakfast, lunch, dinner and a snack at break time.
2. Make sure they get adequate sleep. Studying to 2am when the exam starts at 8.30am will do no good, and neither will texting, Facebook or tweeting.
3. Make sure they get regular exercise. If they’re the type who are not into exercise, now is not the time to hassle them about it, but instead make sure they get some other type of ‘down time’.
4. Make sure they have a good and defined space for study. It should have good lighting, good flow of air and be ‘their’ space for the time they need it. If it’s not their own room, then make sure the rest of the family respects the space as being off limits until exams are over.
What not to do
5. Do they work part time? If so, now is not the time to increase their hours because they think they need the money. Once all the exams are over, they can work all day if they want.
6. Don’t let them drink excessive alcohol or caffeine or take methylphenidate (commonly known as 'Ritalin').
7. They probably feel they can’t live without social media for more than ten minutes, but try to incorporate this into their relaxation time. As much as possible, encourage them not to be distracted by it while they’re studying.
8. Cut them a bit of slack on household chores. If you think they’re using exams as a convenient excuse not to do something simple such as unloading the dishwasher, then pull them up on it. But if part of their chores includes cleaning the bathroom and bedroom each week, cut them a bit of slack at this time.
9. Don’t be drawn into an argument with them over something minor. Teenagers can be annoying at the best of times (even though we love them) – but just walk away.
They do things differently
10. Apart from the obvious difference of growing up in the digital age, our teenagers have been taught to discuss, solve problems and learn in groups much more than we were. If they tell you they want to have a group of friends around to study, that’s what they’re used to, so let it happen.
Strike a balance
11. Going out? Parties? As with almost everything, balance is the key. They can’t be expected to be ‘all work and no play’ for weeks on end so a bit of down time where they can relax and hang out with friends can be therapeutic. Just make sure it’s on a Friday or Saturday so there’s no exam the next day – either for them or their friends.
12. Some kids may feel unprepared and anxious. Some nervousness is normal, but make sure you don’t panic with them or make them feel more anxious.
13. Use the time between exams and when results are received to research and discuss options. If they or you are concerned they might not be able to do what they want, talk to them about other options and how they can still achieve what they want in a different way.
14. Help them understand that Year 12 exams are important but they do not set the course for their entire life.
15. Depending on your teenager, they may not want to say it or show it themselves – but they do still want your attention and they need to be assured that you love and appreciate them regardless of the results.