How to help your Year 12 teenager with learning

This year, more than ever, year 12 students need the support of their dads, families and extended school community.

We asked our ambassador Dr Tim Hawkes to assist with some guidance to help fathers and parents support their teenagers through this very challenging period made even more stressful due to COVID-19.

This is part three of a three-part series to help your Year 12 student through their final year of exams.

Part Three: How to Help With Learning

Before this causes too much concern, we’re not talking about the need for dads to be able to explain the finer points of math or science. This simply means that you can act as facilitators to guide your Year 12 teen to resources online and in print.

Another learning role for dads is to be a sounding board; to listen to an essay being read, or to accept a request to read an essay.

However, it is important to remember that some sensitivity is needed if completing this task. Too much criticism can crush. Too much ‘gush’ can conceal inadequacy. Simply point out the bits you really liked, and, if able, suggest a few areas that might profit from some re-working.

Some last-minute advice for you to give your teen going off to exams:

  • Get a good night’s sleep beforehand.
  • Have a moderate breakfast of ‘brainfood’. Fruit, cereal and yoghurt can work better than a big ‘fry-up’.
  • Check you have everything needed – pens, rulers and spares if anything should run out or break.
  • Allow good time to get to the exam. Don’t arrive out-of-breath and stressed because you didn’t allow enough time for the traffic.
  • When you get to the exam room, take a few deep breaths and try to relax. Then organise your desk.
  • Read the exam paper carefully, making note of the compulsory questions and optional questions.
  • Allocate time to each question so that most time is spent on the questions giving the most marks.
  • Pay attention to the directive terms such as ‘discuss’ and ‘describe’ and ‘contrast’. Make sure you understand what these terms mean.
  • Check – then double check that you are answering the question, rather than the one you think they’ve asked.
  • Keep to time.
  • If appropriate, plan your answer in rough before writing.
  • Try not to stress. The brain operates best when it is in a state of ‘relaxed alertness’.

When the exam results are released, it’s important for dads to remain upbeat, whatever the score, and be enthusiastic about the opportunities that now present themselves.

Best of luck with it all.

This article is the third in a three-part series of tips to assist fathers support their teenagers through the challenging exam period made even more stressful due to COVID-19.
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