Revving up for revision
If your children are about to embark on exam revision, chances are stress levels in the household are rising.
Whether you’re worried that they’re unprepared or they’re fretting because they simply don’t know where to start, the run up to exams and coursework preparation can massively stressful for pupils and parents alike.
From pupils that keep their revision tactics to themselves to those that demand absolute silence across the whole house and have an increasingly short-fuse when revising, it can be hard for parents to strike a balance in helping with revision.
But there are many ways parents can support children throughout this stressful time from making sure they’re taking regular breaks, having enough sleep and maintaining a healthy balanced diet.
New research by Omega-3 specialists Equazen eye-q shows the vast majority of parents don’t know what the recommended revision time is and many think their children can have their music or TV on when in fact many experts believe this can be a big distraction. The research also highlighted the need for more communication between parents and pupils as planning is key to a successful revision timetable and positive exam outcome.
So whether you need some simple and effective tips to help your child manage their time and workload or some advice on specific revision problem areas, log onto this live webTV show. TV presenters Dick and Dom from Are You Smarter than a 10 Year Old, will be answering your questions and offering advice to help your children succeed.
Dick and Dom join us live on Friday 26th March at 2.30pm (TBC) to discuss how to study best.
For more information visit www.equazen.co.uk
H: Vicky Letch, host
A: Dick, TV presenter
B: Dom, TV presenter
H: Hello I’m Vicky Letch and welcome to the Parenting Show. Well it’s that time of year again when children across the country will soon be drawing up their revision timetables to cram for those all-important end-of-year exams. And getting a good work / life balance is often hard and sometimes impossible at these stressful times. New research by Omega-3 specialists Equazen eye-q has revealed some interesting data about a lack of parental awareness when it comes to revision. 34% of children start revising just one week before the exams which may sound a bit late for some parents. Regular breaks, the right amount of sleep and a healthy, balanced diet are just three of the important factors to consider besides good communication between parents and children when planning the all-important revision schedule. So, what can parents do to help?
H: So what can parents do to help, but hey
B: It’s like being in school then weren’t it?
H: Chatting away in the studio I have got – see I don’t know if this is going to work now, I have got two straight “A” students, if ever there were some
B: Yes straight yes, I don’t know about the “A”
H: Dominic Wood and Richard McCourt better known of course as Dick and Dom. Hi guys how are you?
B: We’re all – we’re being very grown-up today, we’re in smart fitting trousers
B: Nice shirts
A: Yes, yes
B: He’s wearing a cardigan
H: And underwear
B: Of course
H: Good, excellent
B: Are you?
H: Yes always
H: Fully supported.
A: Good I’m glad we’ve got that sorted out
H: So let’s kick off with this survey then, it’s interesting research, 48% of children apparently like to watch television or listen to music whilst they revise. I was definitely one of those. 5% like it to be completely silent. What was your revision like, was it structured, controlled?
A: Yes mine was listening to music actually, I listened to Radio 1, Bruno Brookes on the Chart Show
A: But a lot of research has been done into this and it – I – well we know now that it doesn’t help you, it distracts you from your revising. You can’t just like be sat there with – because if the music’s on you’re going to be listening to it, if the TV’s on or the internet or what have you, something will be taking your eye
H: I don’t know, I do feel that it helps me. I mean you are probably right it does distract you and that might be why as excellently as I could have done
B: I think as technology broadened over – since we were at school there is so much more to distract you. You’ve got you know MP3 players, you’ve got the internet, you’ve got you know obviously DAB radios, you’ve got – you’ve got all sorts, a whole world of new things to distract you
B: And actually what you need to do when you’re revising is have a proper formatted plan of how long you need you know how many weeks you need to revise, and then when you’re doing it break it down into manageable chunks you know 30 minutes, 40 minutes, then give yourself a 10 minute break. Instead of just cramming everything into one week before your exams because that’s not going to help anyone
H: Yes and I think I was probably guilty of that and interestingly enough -
B: I think most are to be totally honest, I think most are
H: I’m a panic learner, it’s like literally if I have to know it, then I can learn it, and I’m a bit too relaxed leading up to –
B: Which is stressful right?
H: So stressful
B: Yes and even though like the thought of spending your summer holidays revising for let’s say half of it, that sounds stressful but actually that’s far less stressful than if you try and do it all the week before
H: Yes absolutely and that ties in nicely with some of the other research, a third of children start revising the week before exams as you were saying, but 97% of parents don’t know when is the right time to even start revising so is it weeks and weeks ahead, will the information still be in the child’s brain when it comes to the exam?
A: Well this is what we’re trying to get across I suppose, if it was down to the child and just revised on their own, they might do it the night before because yes it will be fine, whatever. That’s why the parents have got to get involved and put a revision plan together you know so they work together on it. It’s not like the parents telling them to do it, but if they work together and kind of structure it so that four weeks before the first exam they can kind of get a schedule in of what times of day they’re going to be revising, how many breaks they’re going to take because they’re important you know
A: How much sleep they’re going to have at night because if you’re not sleep – if you’re revising till one o’clock in the morning, if you’re a teenager, you’re going to be tired the next day so you’re not going to be able to concentrate
B: And that happens quite a lot these days, a lot of kids who are at school aren’t getting enough sleep because of things like Facebook, because of things like Twitter, Pinging each other, you know social websites like Bebo, and as – they’re not getting the sleep that they need in order to function properly during the day for their revision
H: Yes because it’s so important, I agree with that. So other than the sleep, what do you think parents can do to help reduce these stress levels, because there will be some people who will revise that won’t – that find it difficult. I know my brother for example was all very laid back and it was very natural, I had to work really hard for my exams, I was that person, but I also got really stressed, so what do you think parents can do to help their kids?
A: Well we don’t want to sound boring because you know teenagers and kids love like junk food and stuff and bad food and especially when you’re revising you don’t have time to eat properly, but it is proved that a healthy, balanced diet will help you hopefully concentrate better, and if you can concentrate better you’re going to be able to retain the information and absorb the information in a better way
H: Yes and I think going back to you – saying late nights and you do then tend to overload on sugar, anything sugary to keep you going, but it’s a false energy, it’s not good for the body and then you’re right your brain can be slightly flitty and you’re not absorbing anything properly. Phil, thank you very much for your question – reminder of course we’re live so any questions do drop them in the box below and we’ll answer as many as we can. Phil says “I think my children lie to me about how much revision they do. How much should I nag?”
A: Yes it’s a fine line that isn’t it really because you don’t want to push it too far where the kids go oh I don’t want to listen to you
B: Yes I think just being there to support and to encourage the amount of work they’re doing. If you’re trying to force too much it’s going to go totally the opposite way
B: Also what parents have got to remember is everything’s relative. You look back now to how important your exams were and in your life – in the life scheme it’s not that big of a deal, but when you’re 14 /15 doing your GCSEs and doing your A levels is monumental, it’s a big mountain to climb, so they need to be there to support them as much as they can in terms of helping them do their homework and help them work out this big strategy as well
H: Yes I agree. I still remember thinking it was the biggest thing ever
B: Yes it was horrendous
B: Especially –
H: It was awful!
B: Especially when you’re doing your GCSEs and that was bad enough, and do you remember thinking I’ve got to do my A levels in a couple of year’s time and that’s going to be awful
H: Yes exactly. Bobby in Doncaster, thank you Bobby. Bobby says “is it a good idea to reward my kids if they’ve been revising hard for their exams?” I think definitely yes
B: Yes. Of course it is, it’s a really good idea, it’s a really good incentive. You know kids are going to be wanting to play with their Wii Fit or whatever the case may be, or Rock Band, I think it’s a really good idea to say listen you can’t, you really need to focus on your exams to get the grades you want. Once you’ve done four hours in the day of that then you can do that for the rest of the day, and that’s a good few hours to do that
B: I think the reward scheme really, really works. It works as an adult as well
H: Yes I was going to say that yes
B: If you’re hard at work and you know that it’s Friday night and you get to go to the pub with all your mates at the end of the day, you work really hard for the whole of Friday. Exactly the same but more so as a kid
A: Yes I think that’s a good strategy for parents to take on board, you know think about your life and how you reward yourself or how other people reward you and do that with your kid, but obviously not taking them to the pub
H: No that would be wrong, yes
A: But with something that’s kid-friendly
H: Yes absolutely. Jim in London – hi Jim. Jim says “Dick and Dom, what was your revision strategy and who got the best results?”
A: He did
B: He did. Like the Chuckle Brothers reborn isn’t it?
H: I loved it, I loved it! Not at all rehearsed!
A: I think Dom might have sneaked it slightly, that one
B: I got an A star
H: An A star? I don’t even know what they look like
A: How do you get an A star?
B: Two Bs, four Cs and a D
A: What is an A star?
B: A star is a very, very good A
A: Yes it’s not just a good A
H: What was it in? Religious studies, art?
B: Me. No musack – it was in music yes and then I go two Bs, four Cs and a D, something like that yes
H: That’s really quite impressive
B: It was ok and then A levels I got a B and a D so I did ok, I didn’t completely flunk out which was good for me because I’m dyslexic as well and that wasn’t found out till I was 15 years old
H: Oh wow
B: So it was a long stretch before it was all found out, yes
H: And do you –
A: Mine were nearly as good as that
H: Go on then do you remember what yours were?
A: Yes I got five I think, a B – two Bs, two Cs –
B: Stop playing with your ear
A: And some more
H: And some more on top of that. I definitely didn’t get an A star, I don’t really know what they actually look like the A stars. Anyway an A with a star next to it
B: Yes although they came in for the younger people, you’re probably much older than me so they probably weren’t invented –
H: Right we’re going to move on now because we don’t have an awful lot of time! Kim in Romford, thanks Kim. Kim says “my daughter tries to revise but I have a younger child whose very distracting
A: Yes, just like us
H: “How can I provide the right environment for revising?”
A: What are you laughing at?
H: They’re just like whispering to each other – do you want me to read it again?
A: It’s not a funny question.
B: You answer it
A: I don’t know which bit is funny there? Just my face I think
H: I’m not entirely sure, but let’s answer the question and then we’ll find out what on earth he’s giggling at
A: Ok. Yes of course well again I think you’ve got to – it’s back to the reward process maybe with the other kid because the other kid might be young, I don’t know, does it say?
H: Yes younger, younger
A: So if that kid’s not having attention paid to it while – you know the other kid’s revising and the parent’s got to watch over them, then the other kid needs something, you’ve got to find something else for that kid to be doing
A: Or say to them both look if you sit quietly there and watch the television while he’s doing, or she’s doing the revising, I’ll take you both out after to do a – whatever
H: Exactly, it goes back to you what you were saying about actually planning your revision schedule, so have it all down on your timetable and then know right, this is so and so’s afternoon to revise so little ‘un go out and have some fun. Not on your own obviously, with an adult, supervised
A: Of course
H: Yes. Tara, thank you very much for your question, Tara in Cardiff. She says “what sort of food helps concentration before exams, and gives the right balance of energy and nutrition?”
A: Fish yes, well it’s proven isn’t it, the government have done loads of research on this
A: Over the years and it’s proven now that Omega-3 is the thing that can hopefully help you concentrate better
B: You’re meant to have a piece of oily fish per week
B: Which is supposed to – you know anything from sardines, pilchards –
H: But I suppose some parents watching now going yes, nice one never going to get my child to eat-
A: This is it, kids are never going to eat stinky mackerel or stinky sardines are they? You know I love them but they probably hate them at that age. So Equazen Eye-Q, they’ve actually got a supplement out which is Omega-3 based and they do it in flavours like strawberry
A: So a kid would be able to just take – get the same kind of thing from it, same vibe from it, but it would be in flavour that a kid would enjoy, so it doesn’t taste of fish as such
B: I mean it sound a bit weird taking a supplement that is a fishy strawberry flavour, it’s like squishy cheesy peas, a new strawberry flavour. But actually if you think about it, most jelly sweets are made out of pig’s hooves
H: Yes it’s true
B: But the big difference is that these things from Equazen are actually good for you and they’re really improving your brain – good all round
H: Darius, thank you Darius
B: He’s a big fan of this is he? Darius, is he?
H: Yes, yes. Loves it. Darius Danesh – not Danesh any more
B: Not Danesh. What’s he called?
H: I can’t remember, but anyway that’s not good
A: He’s an opera singer now
H: It’s not Danesh I know that. “Ensuring the kids get a good diet with minimal e numbers and junk will no doubt help concentration levels - just how important is a good night’s sleep?” Essential
B: Yes we kind of touched on that before
A: As important
B: Yes I really think it is. I mean it ranges, you know I’ve got a little toddler you see, and if he doesn’t get a good night’s sleep he’s crabby as anything, and adults are exactly the same
B: You know we’re exactly the same, if we’ve been working really hard which happens about once a year, but if we work really hard and don’t get a good night’s sleep then you’re really grumpy the next day, and the same goes for teenagers as well, they’ve got to get their nods in
A: Yes it’s all the things we said before, you know it’s about getting the revision plan together, taking the breaks at the right time so you can relax away from it, getting the good night’s sleep that you can concentrate properly and get the revision in, but also the diet with the things like the Omega-3 as well
H: Yes absolutely and I think that’s a hard one with the chidlings because they might not understand how important a good night’s sleep is, I think that’s something that whacks you in the face at a later stage in life
A: Very true
H: I wish I’d slept a little bit more as a teenager. Anyway so that’s something you can help your –
B: Chidlings with
H: Chidlings with, yes. Rufus – what lovely names we’re hearing today –
B: Rufus, he’s watching as well
A: I know
H: Rufus –
B: It’s marvellous. It’s Rufus now
H: And he’s in Leicester
A: Wonder what he’s doing there
H: He’s in Leicester today. “As a parent I find it difficult to get my teenage kids to buckle down to revision early enough. How long before the exams start is ideal?” So I think he’s saying, you know –
B: How much preparation should you put –
H: How much preparation
B: Aside. Well it depends how much work you’ve got on and how many GCSEs you’re taking, it’s all very relative. But one thing that we do know is it’s wise to take a week – one thing to do is to take a week to work out your schedule
B: Before you start your whole revision plan
B: It will take about a week to work out the structure, how long you need to do it, what you need in front of you to be able to do it. You need your little revision cards so you can write everything down and condense all your notes
B: So that’s one thing we do know, how long to do revision for we can’t tell because we don’t know how much work you need to do
A: Well you know a week probably is too short a time, you’re talking more like again a month plan -
B: Yes four weeks, four weeks is probably a good amount of time
H: Spread the panic, I think yes
B: Absolutely, spread it
H: Spread it
A: On toast
H: Delicious. Sarah-Lou thank you very much “what kind of foods will be particularly useful to make sure the kids are having a healthy diet ? Anything other than fruit and veg?”
A: Well like we were saying before the Omega-3 you know –
A: Is the kind of something you should be taking for the brain, like I say the government are telling you to eat one piece of oily fish a week because loads of research has been done into it and it may be able to help you concentrate better. Again with – like if kids don’t like mackerel, or sardines or any kind of fish like that, then give them one of these Equazen eye-q tablets
B: Do you eat oily fish?
H: Yes I do sir
B: What’s your favourite oily fish?
H: I would have to say probably mackerel, I’m a bit of a mackerel fiend – can I say that?
B: That’s quite a strong –
A: Have you ever been whacked round the head with one?
H: No, no have you got one in your pocket?
B: We have
A: Have you ever put one down your trousers?
H: No not on a regular basis
A: We’ve done it all. Been there, done that, bought the t-shirt
H: I love my oily fish yes so maybe I should – I don’t know do a course and test my brain with some exams again
B: Your concentration’s pretty damn good isn’t it?
H: Do you think?
B: Well you’re interviewing, doing this it’s amazing. I think we need more oily fish
H: I think you do because they’ve actually been very naughty, you haven’t seen what they’ve been doing off-camera, they’ve been naughty
H: Boys today
B: Genuinely I think we’ve been really well behaved
A: I removed that mackerel from my trousers and put it between a couple of slices of bread, it was delicious
H: I have to say – I take it back, I’m kidding, you have been so well behaved today
H: Right that is it today, thank you very much for your questions. Before we go anywhere let’s go back to you pair, top tips and advice that you want to leave the public with then?
B: For revision or anything in general?
H: No probably let’s stick with revision for now
B: Ok my top –
A: Dick and Dom’s top tips for revision, here we go
B: My top tips are work for no longer than 45 minutes, no less than 30 and then take 10 minutes break but you’ve got to be strict with that 10 minutes break, no wandering and meandering down to the bottom of the garden. Only 10 minutes, fresh air, clear your brain, get back to it. Do that for four hours per day
A: A Dick top tip is to get as much sleep as possible, like we were saying before if you think that sleep isn’t going to help you, it will do in the end. Get a good 8 hours sleep a night, go to bed early, wake up in the morning, start revising then you’ll feel so much different you’ll be able to concentrate more and absorb the information
B: There you are
A: Oh no there’s got to be another top tip, yes take a break, take a break from the revising. Always take a break, have a glass of lemonade, a coke, whatever you want but take like 10 minutes here and there just to give yourself a bit of space. And of course the final one, the healthy diet
A: The healthy diet will enable you, hopefully, to concentrate better
H: Lovely thank you very much, I really hope that’s helped you all at home. If you are looking for any further tips and advice do go on to equazen.co.uk, that’s equazen.co.uk. Thank you very much you two
H: And I’ll see you lot soon, bye bye
A: Where’s that mackerel?