Laidlaw Education News
Laidlaw Education News

How to Help Your Children Revise | 29/04/2018


Laidlaw Education founder Sue Laidlaw uses her 35 years of experience in education to offer tips and advice for families approaching revision season…

Along with parents throughout the land, at points throughout the year - and many times inbetween - our house is full of the sense and feel of pre-exam revision. This can include a) too many dirty mugs left in bedrooms b) great consumption of chocolate biscuits.

Today’s children, and - by default - their parents, live in a very exam-orientated world: SATs, entrance exams, GCSEs, A-levels, not to mention internal school tests and end-of-year exams. And then there are the mock exams on top of that.

So, we might wonder, is there any point in so many exams and, in particular, what is the point of mock exams? It can sometimes feel as if our children are so busy revising for the next exam, or mock exam, that there is no time to embrace and enjoy the subject matter and explore the subject.

Family meals together and family holidays are good for keeping life balanced.

I run Laidlaw Education, which provides private tuition and mock exam practice to children and young people in west London, and with 25 years of experience under my belt, can say that opinion, both within schools and families, is divided on the benefits.  Mocks kick in pre-GCSE and they are clearly helpful. Indeed, the results are important for schools in order to assist in the prediction of grades and to help everyone to focus on strengths and also on the shortfall and weaker areas on which to work. For pupils, there are clear benefits and whatever is learned and revised at this point, five or six months prior to the real event, is a real investment. Mocks can act as a wake-up call, pinpointing areas on which to work. But sometimes, there is no doubt, the whole situation can also be rather demoralising if not handled with common sense and sensitivity.

Much has been written about how to revise: the tips and tricks; looking at whether you are a visual, aural or kinaesthetic learner and so on. All this is useful - essential, in fact, but I was interested to know what happens behind all those front doors! How can we, as parents, ensure that we all keep the balance between an exam-drenched few years and a time of life where so many new excitements and interests are opening up?

So I conducted a little market research with some of our parents and their children on the best ways to revise and to encourage your children to revise which, although not scientific, is anecdotal and helpful.

Revision tips from other parents:

  • Many parents, in the thick of it, with two, three or even four children in the exam phase agreed that the old adage, ‘a little bit of everything does you good’ is worth following. Academic studies form a vital part of life - but so do family, friends, sport and hobbies. Family meals together and family holidays are good for keeping life balanced.
  • Create a home atmosphere that is conducive to concentration. It sounds obvious but a simple common-sense approach works wonders: slightly earlier nights (for everyone!), reduced (but not eliminated screen time), no visitors to stay - and no drunken parties (not even for the parents!)


Revision tips from students:

  • They all felt that having something planned to look forward to doing was a must: the promise of a bike ride, a film or some chocolate could get them through a revision session.  
  • Parents can help too: by helping to draw up a revision timetable or showing them how to make a revision planner, and providing brain food, ie: nice meals and refreshments.
  • Parents shouldn’t nag too much: it won’t encourage them!


:: Laidlaw Education is a west London centre offering private tuition, mock exams, special needs assessments and schools admissions guidance, among other services. Established in 1992, we are based at Duke’s Meadow, Chiswick. For more information on our services, click here.











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