Revising for exams is a rite of passage, but it can be a stressful time for any teenager. Unlike university when your focus is on one subject, the pressure of revising for multiple disciplines can often leave teens feeling overwhelmed.
This is especially true for students with extra learning needs, such as dyslexia. Dyslexia can make it difficult for your teen to concentrate and copy out text, both of which are skills needed for traditional exam preparation. But there’s no reason why your teen can’t succeed – they may just benefit from a more personalised method of learning than is offered to them at school.
By offering your support, you can help your teen feel more confident in their abilities and work with them to create a method of learning that suits them. This doesn’t mean watching their every move, but there are certain things you can do whilst still allowing them to maintain their independence. Here, we list three to get you started – but remember that each child is different, and talking to your teen about what they need might be the best starting place.
As we’ve mentioned, people with dyslexia may struggle to use the copy and learn method of revision. They’ll likely need to find a different way of understanding the information so that it stays in their memory, such as mind maps, pictures, or talking through it with someone instead.
With a lot of subjects to cover, you may find your home covered in different mind maps or coloured notes – be patient, and accept that it will only be for a short time. Whilst you might have the urge to tidy it, it’s important to leave it where it is if at all possible.
Additionally, you can talk to your teen to see if they feel like they’d benefit from explaining a topic to you to check their own understanding. Try to ensure that you’re encouraging them, rather than just telling them about any mistakes – pointing out what went well can help boost their confidence.
Dedicated study space
Doing schoolwork at home can often feel like a challenge, especially if your teen is trying to work at the kitchen table whilst you’re preparing dinner, or if they have siblings or pets running around. Instead, create a designated study space that allows them to settle down and focus without distraction.
This doesn’t need to be a separate room – it can be as simple as a desk in their bedroom or another space where you can ensure they won’t be disturbed.
Move away from the solo approach
Sometimes solo is not best – it can be frustrating to try and get your head around something if you’re struggling. Instead, your teen might benefit from group study, where a friend can explain it to them, and they can explain another concept in turn. It’s important to be selective about who attends these group sessions so that they remain on track, but the right people can be great motivators.
Professional assistance can also be highly beneficial. Hiring a tutor for subjects that your teen finds particularly difficult can help them get the one-to-one attention they need to boost their understanding. Make sure to give your teen a say in their choice of tutor – they’ll need to respond to their teaching style and trust them if they’re going to be honest about where they need help.
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