What to Expect from an Exam Year

What to Expect from an Exam Year

Suddenly, you have a child old enough to sit their National 5 exams or Highers! Where did that time go? What happens now?

You may well remember sitting exams yourself, and now, a familiar sense of exam dread has come back to haunt you… But this time, it’s your child you’re worried about. You might be feeling out of the school loop and unsure how you’re going to help your child out. Also, things can change quite quickly in the education system, so it can all be a bit mind-boggling.

So- the question is- what can you expect from an exam year in the present day?

Firstly, it’s important to note that individual schools can do things very differently. However, there are certain expectations that are likely to apply across the board: revision; the number of exams; and parental involvement are just some of the things we will discuss.

One thing that you, as a parent or guardian, should be aware of the number of examinations your child will take. Most students in Scotland take exams across five to seven subjects, at National 5 level. However, most subjects have a set amount of components: this means that one subject may have one or two examinations plus coursework, which accumulate (when marked) to form the overall grade.

Therefore, you should expect- particularly when exam timetables are out- your child to have quite a ‘list’ of exams. Some parents are surprised to find that their child has 12 exams (for example) – but the number will vary depending on your child’s chosen subjects.


This is why revision will be crucial to your child in their preparation for examinations. Not only do they need to be confident in their knowledge and learning, but it’s important to have teenagers prepped for which exam they are sitting; what components of the course the paper requires, and the timings for each paper.

When you, yourself, sat exams at school, there may not have been much emphasis on teacher-led revision sessions (it may not have been an option!)

Nowadays, however, revision classes are the ‘norm’ and students are expected to attend (at least some.) This is where teachers or subject specialists run additional classes – out of school time- to help your child keep on track and boost their grades.

In addition to this, there are revision providers (external to schools,) who also offer services. This means that your teen has access to a wide range of expert support for their studies. We, ourselves, are a revision provider offering several courses for the National 5s, Higher and Advanced Higher examinations.

As a parent, it is likely that you’ll want to encourage your child to attend revision classes- or book them onto a course! By doing this, you are steering them towards the best grades. There’s a huge wealth of resources for your teen to utilise: expect to get revision-savvy (as soon as you can) this year.

Finally, expect to get involved where appropriate- and expect to support your teen from ‘the sidelines’ – cheering them all the way along!