Common Entrance Exams Preparation Tips.

Common Entrance or 13+ Exams

Revision tips

As with any exam it is important to revise as much as possible before the exams. However, it is best to stick to a timetable that includes a lot of breaks, which encourage your child to get outdoors and move around. The brain is often described as ‘a muscle’. As we know when we exercise our muscles develop, become stronger and we have more energy. This is exactly the same for our brain and it has been proven that as little as a 20 minute walk can dramatically improve our working memory – a key tool for effective revision! When students return to their revision after a break it’s a great idea to look over what they’ve just been working on to help their brain take it in.
When revising for the 13 plus exam students should be in a clean, calm and neat environment with plenty of light and fresh air. It may also help students to start every revision session with a brief 5 minute breathing exercise to help settle any nerves. Try the 4-7-8 breathing technique:
Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh sound.
Close your mouth and inhale quietly through your nose to a mental count of four.
Hold your breath for a count of seven.
Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh sound to a count of eight.
This is one breath. Now inhale again and repeat the cycle three more times for a total of four breaths.

On exam day

Make sure everything your child needs for their 13 plus exam is packed the night before. A lot of us get nervous before exams, which is completely normal but do try and ensure your child has some breakfast before they go. Also give them some water and a snack to take with them. Water can enhance mental performance and give you energy when you most need it. It’s a good idea for them to wear a watch in case they aren’t able to see the clock from where they are sitting.
By now most students will be dab hands at doing 13 plus exam practice papers. However, it’s a good idea to talk through what they should do when they sit down with the paper in front of them. Firstly, read the front of the paper carefully. Then ask them to try and work out how long they will need to answer each question. Encourage them to think carefully before writing their answer. Finally if they get stuck, leave that question and come back to it later.
If students find they are getting anxious they can try the breathing technique above or a simpler version called ‘box breathing’. It’s a great idea to do this with them the morning before the exam:
Inhale through the nose and count to four in your head.
Hold the breath for four.
Exhale through the mouth for four.
Hold for four.
Repeat this process for around 5 minutes or until the anxiety has subsided.
For further tips on managing exam anxiety take a look at another of our blogs.
Finally, reassure your child that they can only do their best and that nothing else can be asked of them. We wish you and your children the best of luck with their forthcoming exams.

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