How to Help Students Plan For Exams

If you’re a parent reading this, maybe you’re thinking, wouldn’t it be great if that teenage son of mine could get himself organized for the next school year? I say son as girls seem to have the knack of managing their time much better.

If you’re that son, maybe you’re thinking, wouldn’t it be nice if I didn’t have to worry about this and y’know chill?

The reality is that how we manage our time affects now only us but those around us. That’s why parents get so worked up about kids. What they expect just doesn’t happen and that has a domino effect on other plans that had hoped to make.

So, how do we address this?

In this blog post, let’s look at the role of the parent first. Next week, it’ll be junior in the spotlight.

Getting started

The first thing is don’t mention:

  • Project management
  • Getting things done
  • Time management

All of these will set off alarm bells. Instead, be the words and give examples.

When it comes to exam preparation is to ‘practice exam questions.  Past papers should be available online or from your lecturer. They can be a useful insight into what your exam will be like and also.’ h/t Union of Students in Ireland.


  • Identify one area where your kid wants to be organized. For example, getting to football practise on time. Notice how he usually has no problem getting ready for this. Well, add a new element to his training.
  • Set an aim. Say something like, have you thought of tracking your performance in training the way such and such does? If he says yes, then help me create some tracking spreadsheet where he can enter data, for example, on his phone or using Google Docs. The key is to fine an area where you can demonstrate the benefit of being better organized and make this practical by introducing some tool.
  • Identify an aim. Once you’ve got this off the ground, isolate one specific aim, say weight training, and identify a set of targets. This is your chance to introduce concepts such as deadlines, timelines, resources, and contingencies. Instead of talking about project management, you make it applicable to his world.
  • Suggest he apply these principles to one school subject. Maths is a good one as you can factor in exams, revisions, tests, and mock exams. Another idea is to develop a study plan. This will help them manage their time especially if it helps balance their studies and social life.
  • Provide tools. We use Google Docs and Google Calendar. These are free, can be synced on your phone and PC, and you can collaborate quite easily. It’s a great way to get started and there are many free templates you can download related to project management and time management
  • Discuss the idea with other parents. Everyone is in the same boat.

See if they have other ideas. Suggest what you’ve learnt at PTA meetings and other such gatherings. Also, encourage your teenager to share what he learnt with his mates.