Supporting your child preparing for GCSE or A-Level exams. A guide for parents.

Last Updated: 18 Apr 24
Students sitting public exams in an exam hall.

In this guide, we'll explore actionable strategies, backed by research and expert advice, to support parents in assisting their children in preparing effectively for GCSE and A-Level exams. 


As parents, witnessing our children navigate the challenging terrain of GCSEs and A-Levels can be daunting and rewarding. These pivotal exams mark significant milestones in their academic journey, shaping their future educational and career paths. While the pressure may seem overwhelming, parents play a crucial role in providing support, guidance, and encouragement during this crucial period. In this comprehensive guide, we'll explore actionable strategies, backed by research and expert advice, to empower parents to assist their children in preparing effectively for GCSE and A--Level exams.

Common Concerns for Parents

As parents, it's natural to harbour concerns about your child's performance during exam season. Common worries include:

  • Academic Pressure: The intensity of exam preparation can lead to stress, anxiety, and burnout among students.
  • Time Management: Many students struggle to balance study time with extracurricular activities, social commitments, and rest.
  • Motivation and Focus: Maintaining sustained motivation and concentration throughout the revision period can be challenging.
  • Exam Anxiety: Fear of failure and performance anxiety can undermine students' confidence and hinder their exam performance.
  • Effective Revision Strategies: Identifying the most efficient and productive revision techniques is essential for optimizing study time and retention of material.

Strategies for Support

While the exam journey may be primarily undertaken by students, parents play a pivotal role in providing a supportive environment conducive to success. Here are actionable strategies to empower parents in supporting their children through GCSE and A-Level exams:

Open Communication and Emotional Support

Maintain open lines of communication with your child, encouraging them to express their concerns, fears, and goals regarding exams. Actively listen to their needs and provide empathetic support without judgment. Validate their emotions and reassure them of your unwavering support, regardless of exam outcomes.

Establishing a Positive Study Environment

Create a conducive study environment at home free from distractions and disruptions. Designate a quiet, well-lit study area equipped with essential study materials, such as textbooks, notebooks, and stationery. Encourage regular breaks, healthy snacks, and adequate hydration to maintain focus and productivity.

Encouraging Effective Time Management

Assist your child in developing a structured study schedule tailored to their individual needs and preferences. Collaboratively plan revision sessions, allocating time for each subject while incorporating breaks to prevent burnout. Emphasize the importance of prioritizing tasks, setting achievable goals, and adhering to deadlines.

Exploring Varied Revision Techniques

Introduce your child to a diverse range of revision techniques and encourage experimentation to identify what works best for them. Research-backed strategies such as active recall, spaced repetition, and retrieval practice can enhance memory retention and understanding of key concepts. Encourage the use of visual aids, mnemonic devices, and interactive study tools to make revision engaging and effective.

Promoting Healthy Habits and Self-Care

Emphasise the importance of maintaining a healthy lifestyle that encompasses regular exercise, balanced nutrition, and sufficient sleep. Encourage your child to prioritize self-care activities such as relaxation techniques, mindfulness, and hobbies to alleviate stress and promote mental well-being. Lead by example by modelling healthy habits and fostering a holistic approach to exam preparation.

Managing Exam Anxiety and Stress

Equip your child with coping strategies to manage exam-related anxiety and stress effectively. Encourage mindfulness techniques, deep breathing exercises, and positive self-talk to cultivate resilience and confidence. Remind them that mistakes are a natural part of the learning process and emphasize the value of adopting a growth mindset focused on continuous improvement.

Providing Practical Support and Resources

Offer practical assistance in sourcing revision materials, past exam papers, and online resources to supplement their studies. Explore A-Level or GCSE tutoring options, study groups, or peer support networks to provide additional academic guidance and motivation. Stay informed about exam dates, syllabus changes, and relevant educational updates to offer informed guidance and support.

We are pleased to offer free access to a vast collection of past papers for A-Level and GCSEs, across all exam boards, which you can view, download or print. We have also included all mark schemes.

Celebrating Achievements and Milestones

Recognise and celebrate your child's efforts and achievements throughout the exam journey, regardless of the outcome. Acknowledge their hard work, resilience, and perseverance, emphasizing the importance of personal growth and development beyond academic success. Plan small rewards or activities to commemorate milestones and provide encouragement for the road ahead.


As parents, your unwavering support, guidance, and encouragement are invaluable assets in helping your child navigate the challenges of GCSE and A-Level exams. By fostering open communication, establishing a positive study environment, and promoting healthy habits, you can empower your child to approach exams with confidence, resilience, and determination. Together, you can embark on this journey with optimism, knowing that your steadfast support will pave the way for success in both academic and personal endeavours.

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