You have helped your child as much as you can and they have pilled out all the stops in terms of preparing for the assessments ahead. Now the exam is here and it is time for them to go in and show off all they know. That’s all great, but what if something goes wrong at the last minute? Here are some potential emergencies and how to deal with them.
Accidents and illness
Everyone can be prone to falling ill with a cold or stomach bug, or to injuring themselves on the sports pitch. If this happens immediately before an exam, this is very bad timing, but not the end of the world. The most important thing is to make sure the child is receiving the right treatment and is out of any immediate danger. Then, it is essential to let the examining board know about the problem as quickly as possible. They will have come across similar situations before and will want to help. Be open and flexible with them and you will be able to work out what to do with their assistance and advice. Possible solutions may include rescheduling the exam, letting your child sit it at home or in a hospital or allowing a scribe in the case of a hand or arm injury.
While it is never a good idea to arrive late for an exam, sometimes life just happens and you cannot avoid it. Traffic hold-ups, public transport failures and faulty alarm clocks can all throw a carefully planned timetable out of kilter. Again, communication is key and you should phone ahead to make the examiners aware as soon as you know that you are going to be late. They may be able to let your child in after the start of the exam and even give them extra time in the end. You may be allocated a separate room when you arrive, so as not to disturb those already in the exam. Or they may offer to reschedule the exam for a different day. Don’t panic – they will have dealt with this situation before.
Exams and assessments are nerve-wracking events and even the strongest-willed of us can feel butterflies in the stomach beforehand. If your child is nervous or anxious, encourage them to take a few deep breaths, breathing in slowly through the nose to a count of five and then exhaling through the mouth while counting to five. Try to encourage them to drink some water and go to the loo. Don’t add last-minute pressure by going over questions while they wait to go into the exam and reassure them that you will still be proud of them, whatever mark they receive. Remember that however important the exam may seem to you now, it is not the only path to success and there are plenty of other options out there.
The Great British weather is a favourite topic of conversation for a very good reason – its unpredictable nature. One minute it is snowing, then next it is bright sunshine. Try your best to prepare for the weather by checking the local forecast a couple of days before the exam, and then again the night before. If snow, winds or storms are predicted, make sure you know exactly how you are going to get there, as well as working out an alternative route of the roads are closed or public transport compromised. In sunny weather, make sure your child is wearing comfortable clothes and sunglasses if required. Do they need sun cream or hay fever medication to help them deal with sunshine or flying pollen streaming through the open window?