Welcome to the AQE page
We will post tips and exam technique advice on here as well as important information.
It's a difficult time at the best of times, doing AQE, but in current circumstances you must understand it is crucial not to put too much pressure on yourselves or your child. We have only had brief one hour sessions a week when we answered questions together as a class, or in groups.
The biggest request we can make is to try to keep calm, no matter how frustrated you may feel. We have all been there, teaching your own child is difficult - even trained teachers often struggle sitting down with their own child and it can lead to a stressful experience. Humans can not learn when over-stressed. The brain shuts down and focuses on survival instincts, new learning is not likely to take place. Keep encouraging them, tell them they are brilliant and how impressed you are with them. Let them show you how to do a question that they know how to do to build their confidence. We need to try to avoid them resenting the test and the time spent doing it.
1) Start with manageable chunks - 1/2 hour or less a day, or a page a day of English and Maths, slowly work up over the weeks to a whole paper.
2) Remember, these are only practice papers, just like any practice, your child will need help - model, coach, teach answers. They should be able to ask for help when stuck - they are not sitting a test, they are learning how to complete one. If you are stuck, even when you have the answer, (it will happen to everyone?) don't feel embarrassed about asking us for help, that's what we are here for, we can send an email or video explaining how to approach the question. Most of the hard work is learning exam technique, the more you can create a relaxed "dialogue" the better
3) Going over errors is as important as doing the questions, trying to get your child to see where they have gone wrong in a relaxed way. It may mean leaving it a day or two, then coming back to it. Only do 1 or two at a time of each subject, keep an eye on you child, you know them best and you will know when they have had enough and it is information overload!
4) There will be some question on topics that have not been taught, you may want to leave them until you have had a chance to teach them the skills needed.
5) Reward them for trying and working hard rather than achievement to begin with. When you feel your child is making progress and growing in confidence you may want to set achievement targets, as long as you....
6) Make them realise their achievement will rise and fall, as they work through the tests. the tests get harder in stages so marks will steadily rise, then fall again. It is like a rollercoaster ride rather than a straight upwards gradient. This is often hard for children to grasp, they need reminding of it regularly and encouraged with past achievements.
7) Get your child to leave out questions they are really struggling with, mark them, then come back to them. This is good exam technique - they could be earning marks on other questions instead of sitting being stumped. Sometimes when they come back to them , they see it with fresh eyes.
8) When your child begins to complete a whole paper, be generous with time to begin with - stop at an hour, let them have a good break, but let them have some extra time to come back to it. Gradually Limit the time spent as your child's experience increases . Your target should be that by September your child can sit a whole paper
Overall, though these are important academic tests, we must remember that these are only tests, and never the end of the story. Your child will succeed and find their own academic path, no matter how the tests go. Not everything that is important is tested and not everything that is tested is important. Your child is facing many challenges and uncertainty at the minute, we need to try and protect, nurture and encourage as much as we can. Please do not hesitate to contact us about anything we can help with.
Mr Richardson & Mr Pinkerton
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