Parents, Positivity and the exams – what are Your roles?

So we forget that it’s not just the exam students who are stressed up and down the country today – so are their whole houses, family homes, parents and siblings – they have been walking on egg-shells for weeks now!

There have been many tears since the mock results and some schools may not have helped by sending home letters in the last few weeks advising students to drop down in levels – at this stage of the game that is pointless – no one should drop a level – JUST GO FOR IT!

Chances are you need the points at that level, so a “pass” Leaving Cert is no use to you – schools seem to be out of touch with this reality! So you have this shot make it a good one and if it doesn’t work out then worry about what to do next but it’s very important at this stage to remain positive and put all the doubts in a large black box well out of the way.

In 1925 Dr. Elizabeth Hurlock showed in a study that students who were prasied and encouraged got vastly different results from those who were not or were critisised…

By the end of the fifth day, the results showed:

Those given praise – 71% improvement
Those criticized – 19% improvement
Those ignored – 5% improvement

This is huge and has been known since 1925 so why are we still giving students such a hard time at such critical stages in the exam process? What I have to explain to parents on repeat loop at this time of the year is that your daughter or son is not the same person they were in February of this year – 4 months is a lifetime in the development of a person between the ages of 15 and 18… so much has happened, they have changed their appearance, their friends, their music taste and so on – they have been learning so much information and working so hard to understand how to study, how to answer questions and most of all they have learnt from their mistakes in the mocks! So why would you think they were the person they were 4 months ago and would get the same result now?

So steps of what you can all do for the next 2 and bit weeks:

1: Totally believe in your child – defend them to anyone who doesn’t and stick up for them – It will mean the world to them!

2: Somehow mange to teleport them to where they need to be – stress free and for them to always be early – Know their schedule for them, they have enough to think about!

3: Just make sure they have nice clothes to wear, snacks, water, tool kit – batteries for their calculators – rememebr to just hand it to them! They won’t remember their heads right now..

4: Feed them really well – all their favorite foods and make sure they eat well between the end of the exam and the start of the next or the start of study for the next day..

5: Make them finish at least 30 minitues to an hour before bed time – have some nice time, a walk is fantastic.

6: Make sure they don’t sleep surrounded by study notes – clear the sleeping space.

7: Make sure they take off the first Saturday of the first exam week – it’s a very intense three day start with major subjects and not always their best specialist subjects – they need to pace themselves for their good topics the following two weeks – it’s a lot of pressure and they need to totally step out for one day! Go to the mountians, beach, walking, cycling, film anything just away from it all.

8: Let everything go – people become very controling of silly things when they are stressed – where did this go – why was this moved – ignore … get siblings to ignore and not lose the plot too!

9: Repeat point one it’s the most important one – believe in them – don’t go on about alternatives right now – they have to go for their dreams in full right now and really see them to achieve this – the alternative is an August conversation not a June one!

10: Tell them they are great at least 50 times a day! more if you can squash it in …


Dr. Naoisé.