Well Done Parents

The journey through the years to the final VCE and IB exam period is often a nerve-wracking experience for parents as they try to provide the best possible environment of support for their child.

It is normal for a parent to feel nervous and anxious the night before the major exam period. You have invested many years of your time and support to get to this point.  However, your role now is as “support crew” and your goal is to maintain a calm and orderly environment. You cannot sit the exams for your child. You now need to support the exam journey.

Here are quick tips to get you through the exam period.

The Household

  • Ensure the household routine is as normal as possible especially bedtime and waking up time.
  • Minimise the noise as well as the coming and going of household members and or visitors the night before an exam.
  • Ensure meals are ready at a regular time as well as the fridge being stocked with healthy snacks.
  • Take the pressure off your child with meal prep, snacks, chores and washing their clothes during the exam period.
  • Without overstepping the mark, ensure their school uniform and exam kit of writing tools, dictionaries, calculators, water bottle etc are ready the night before an exam especially for exams that start at 9am.
  • It is important that calculators are fully charged the night before an exam. Take it upon yourself to ask that question even if you receive a frosty reception. Many students in the past have had their calculator run out of power during the exam.

Your Wellbeing and Our Support

  • If you are feeling nervous and anxious try not to let that transfer into the house. If you need to talk to someone, please call me. I have spoken to 4 VCE parents in the past 48 hours and 3 VCE students. The reason for their calls has been varied but all have felt much better and reassured at the end of our conversation about the way forward.
  • If your child wants to get an answer to a question and cannot reach their teacher then please message me and we will arrange a quick help session with your child's tutor. We can also provide help from a tutor for a subject that they are not being regularly tutored on by Avivo. We have provided this service many times over the past week. I cannot stress enough how important it is to offer this help to your child to prevent a full-scale meltdown which can often happen the day before an exam.

The Day of the Exam

  • Where possible take time off work to drive your child to and from their exam. School travel during the exam period can be stressful and as support crew this is one of your most important tasks. While you drive keep the radio off and your phone on silent – do not take work calls. This is a key mental preparation time for your child.
  • I often advise parents - from my own experience of two daughters going through VCE - that sometimes it is a good option to have your child wait in the car for as long as possible and only arrive at the exam room 5 to 10 mins before students are allowed into the exam room. This minimises the distraction of others talking and stressing about what they do and do not know. It is a time when students with significant exam nerves can get overwhelmed by what others are saying. Other students feed off being around their peers and want to wait with them. Check in with your child as to their preference for arriving at the exam and facilitate it.
  • Post exam it is always tempting the minute your child gets into the car to say “how was the exam”. Your second most important role as support crew on the exam day is to have a cool drink and a snack or reward treat waiting in the car. Your child will be mentally and physically exhausted after the exam and the drink, and, snack/treat is a circuit breaker. Let your child then start the conversation about the exam. It will then be much easier for you to start a conversation about the rest of the day and prep for the next exam.

End of Exams

  • The final exam is a huge milestone for all the family that should be celebrated together. However, it is also good for your child to celebrate the immediate finish of exams. If possible, you should try to go from the final exam to a café to celebrate. It only need be a short occasion as, in most instances your child’s friends will be waiting for them so they can start enjoying their newfound freedom.
  • In my experience - through my undergraduate and post graduate studies - I was so exhausted by my last exam that I only ever wanted to go home and sleep. Your child may also feel this way so when the time is right ask them when they would like to have an end of exams family celebration. Giving them ownership of this decision is an important gesture as it gives your child some control over events and it is also something for them to look forward to at the end of the exam period.

Well done in getting to this point. Good luck with the exam journey. We are always here if you need us.

By Sonia Francis, Founder | Director | Avivo Elite Tutoring