Exam taking skills: A Resource for Parents

This resource page for parents is based on the content of another resource page for students.


The resource available for download below on Exam Taking Skills has been produced for students. The resource summarises what is involved in preparing for examinations. It is linked to another resource which summarises study skills.


Clearly, parents and guardians have an important role to play in providing a suitable environment within which students may study and learn. However, with increasing age the responsibility to direct their own studies will fall more and more on students themselves. The role of parents will tend more towards encouraging, facilitating and supporting good study habits and routines, and will be less directive.

The student resource sheet includes a number of underlying assumptions, such that students will

  • be self-directing and will have made some progress in their studies
  • consult important people in their lives when in need of help and encouragement
  • have access to a competent guidance counsellor

Some students find it easy to study effectively. They are the fortunate ones. They have found ways of learning more in the limited time available. Other students, however, don’t reach their full potential when studying. There are many reasons for this. Sometimes the reasons are quite complicated, and students will need the help of parents to seek solutions.

Listed in the resource are suggestions that relate to exam preparation.

The lists are presented as a quick reference guide to help you and your young person to think about examinations and to encourage them to deal with any of the issues that might arise.

It is suggested that, if problems with study still exist after trying and discussing some of the listed items, the student’s guidance counsellor be consulted.


To access the ‘Preparing for Exams’ resource for students, click hereThe information in the student resource sheet is designed to help students in reviewing their preparation for the exam. They summarise the essentials of exam preparation and fall under the following headings;

  • Mind yourself
  • Be prepared
  • Revise
  • The exam

When to ask for help?

Having spoken to your young person about the issues listed above, you might find that they wish to improve their preparation for examinations, or that

  • Some of the ideas have been tried and don’t seem to work
  • They are confused by the number of possible things that can go wrong
  • They need further information about any of the ideas
  • They need help in making a start
  • They need someone to check that what they’re doing is effective.

These are the kind of issues that many students face and that guidance counsellors can help to sort out. Students can make an appointment to speak to their guidance counsellor who is there to help those who, having tried to prepare for examinations, wish for encouragement, guidance and help in seeking improvement. Similarly, subject teachers may be approached for more subject-specific suggestions.


What you have read above is a summary of ideas about exams. Guidance counsellors will be familiar with the many resources available not only about exam preparation, but also about topics such as stress management, study, memory, note-taking and healthy living. If you are interested in learning more about anything in this outline, you will find it on websites, such as https://www.wikihow.com/Prepare-for-an-Exam and on the Student Resources section of http://careersnews.ie/. The Institute of Guidance Counsellors has published a more detailed account of exam preparation in the booklet Study - Learning to Learn: A Parents’ Guide by Brian Wall (2013).*


* Disclaimer: Links to external  resources developed by individuals or other organisations are being provided as a convenience and are for informational purposes only. They do not constitute an endorsement or an approval by NCGE, of the content the organisation or individual. NCGE  bears no responsibility for the accuracy, legality or content of external resources or for that of subsequent links. It is up to Guidance Counsellors to review whether these resources are appropriate and contact the resource owners directly for answers to questions regarding their content.


NCGE acknowledges the contribution of Colum Layton in the development of this resource page.