Your child has just completed their Trial exams! Congratulations! You’re over the halfway hump!
So, what’s next?
After Trials, your child will want some down time. They’ve just spent the whole of the July holidays studying and they’re probably a bit sick of seeing their laptop/desk/books/highlighters etc. They are going to be exhausted and tired, and it’s essential that you encourage them to have a break before they have to jump straight back into final assessments. Encourage them to eat healthily and sleep well during this time and allow them some space to rejuvenate before the rest of the term.
After Trials, Term 3 will pass quickly for both you and your child. They’ll still be working on various school assessments, and many of the Major Works (Drama, Visual Arts, Society & Culture, English Extension 2, History Extension, etc.) will be due around this time, too. Again, give them the support and reassurance that they need – they’ve now passed the last ‘benchmark’ before the final HSC exams!! They’re probably feeling quite lost after Trials, as it was the last thing between them and their last exams, and it’s going to dawn on them very quickly that they don’t have much time left!
What to do now:
Now is a good time to put some better study skills into practice. Help them draft a new study plan for the post-Trial period and pop it on the fridge so that everyone can see it. Encourage them to change their study plan around a bit to shake things up. If they like their routine and it works for them, then by all means leave it be. Many people, however, like to feel like they are doing something different in preparation for the upcoming weeks of intensive work.
Remember, you need to encourage them to:
Help them stick to their study plan! Inspire them to create lists of things they need to do – often teens want to feel that they have accomplished something! By having a list that they can cross tasks off, they feel motivated to continue.
Keep a healthy diet. This means plenty of meats, proteins and vegetables. Ask your child what they would like for dinner and help them get a nutritional boost with extra fruit, veges and legumes as snacks.
Get lots of sleep
An average 17 or 18-year-old will need at least 7-8 hours of sleep each night in order to function properly. Some may need more. Many teenagers at this time are undergoing various physical and mental challenges, and their bodies need adequate rest time! However, encourage them to wake at a reasonable time on the weekends to keep an effective sleep routine for the upcoming weeks.
Moderate technology use
This refers to social media/laptop/phone use, and TV. These days, children rely on their phones for a number of things – internet, social media, contact with friends, etc. This is not a bad thing. However, if your child is lying awake late at night with their phone in their hand (in the dark!), they are seriously interrupting natural sleep patterns and brain functions. Encourage them to leave their phone in a different room whilst studying, and limit TV time to after study time.
Maintain a healthy balance
It’s essential for your child to do plenty of physical activity as well as relaxing in some downtime. Keeping a balance between study/work/social life/physical activity means that your child will sleep better and stimulate the implementation of better studying practices. Fresh air is so important for a teen stuck in their room studying all day!
Ultimately, this time post-Trials requires lots of support, space, compassion and understanding form your end. Words of reinforcement will go a long way, or a simple dinner together will show your child you are there for them!