Assessments can be very stressful, especially when several of them occur in a short space of time. You will have gone through this before when your young person completed their A-Levels or BTECs. But now they are probably living away from home and are facing assessments where they do not know exactly what to expect
Here are some things that you as parents/carers can do to support your young person as they approach their university/college assessments.
Be aware of key dates
Term dates will be published on the university or college website. This usually includes dates of any key assessment periods. For example, there may be a 4-week period in May during which lots of exams are scheduled to take place. There may also be a period for re-sit assessments for any student who did not pass the first time. This is usually over the summer months (e.g. July or August) so it is worth keeping this in mind, for example if you are making any holiday plans.
Some universities and colleges also have a newsletter for parents in which they highlight any important upcoming events.
Stay in touch
It may or may not be openly welcomed by your young person; but friendly reminders from you can help combat procrastination. This could be through phone calls, emails or social media. Be as flexible as you can with timings of any calls or video chats rather than asking them to change their schedule. Check when they might have some time off from studying before planning any surprise visits – and be prepared for that to change at short-notice.
Let your young person know that you believe in them. Keep it light-hearted to avoid putting more pressure on them than they are already under. And most importantly, remind them that you will support them whatever the outcome.
Your child might be living with you during their studies. If they are, you could consider reducing their household responsibilities during assessment time. Although some activities such as grocery shopping, cooking or lawn mowing can be a welcome break from revision – as long as it does not turn into an excuse for procrastination.
It is also worth looking at what else happens in the house, are there any distractions that could be eliminated or reduced during this time?
Diet and food
One of the first things that falls by the wayside during assessment periods can be a healthy diet. Cooking healthy meals and eating lots of fruit and vegetables is important to learning. But it can also be time-consuming. Of course it is difficult to keep an eye on this when you live far apart. You could remind your child about any quick, easy and nutritious recipes that you know. If you can, consider sending a care package filled with healthy snacks and food options. And remind them that sleep is better than caffeine!
There is only so much that you can do to help your young person during this time. Remind them that there is lots of support available at their place of study. This ranges from academic support to mental health and wellbeing support.